Guilford Naloxone Task Force fights opioid crisis

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Chase Holleman founded the Guilford Naloxone Task Force a few months ago. Holleman works at Caring Services, a recovery center in High Point.

"People generally don't get into treatment or other resources until they are in crisis so we try and meet them before that," he said.

Holleman is a former substance user. He called for people to help package naloxone for distribution and after he got a huge response he decided to start the task force.

The force is made up of former users, family members, recovery professionals and police. The group packages and distributes naloxone, the opioid reversal drug, on a weekly basis. They are currently in contact with about 50 users and their families.

"A few members are trained and ready to go meet drug users or people who are at risk for an overdose," Holleman explained.

Alex Smith is on the task force and says he immediately joined when Holleman came to him with the idea.

"I thought great, as soon as possible we need to start this task force and get naloxone into as many hands as possible," he said.

Smith is also in recovery and says his work with the task force is personal. "When I see people the amount of people overdosing on a weekly, daily basis I think of that could have been me," he said.

He also believes this kind of grassroots effort that meets at places like the Greenbean coffee shop in downtown Greensboro can do something others can't.

"You want the people who are impacted the most to really be driving this discussion," Smith said.

Eventually, Holleman wants to expand the task force to include local government, but for now his priority is getting naloxone into the right hands.

"Personally, naloxone saved my life three times before I was ready to find recovery," Holleman explained.

Solving the opioid crisis may seem impossible, but a force of people who really care are fighting it anyway.

"Instead of feeling like you're powerless against this crisis that's happening in our community, here's a very simple way that someone can take action and actually make a difference in someone's life," Smith said.

For more information on the Guilford Naloxone Task Force or any of their services, visit their Facebook page.

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