Naloxone program yields results in High Point

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HIGH POINT, N.C. -- "I came to the realization that I'd been doing this every single day, and couldn't remember a time not doing it," said Caring Services' Naloxone Program Director Chase Holleman.

Holleman's story is one that thousands in North Carolina can relate to. He was an addict, after an injury was prescribed painkillers and transitioned to heroin when he couldn't find pills on the street.

"I thought I was a lost cause people were tired of dealing with me," Holleman said.

He ended up overdosing a couple of times and says he was revived by naloxone on three occasions. It wasn't a fun experience.

"Being very, very sick, being nauseous, throwing up," he said.

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Through treatment, Holleman has been clean for almost five years. He earned his master's degree and now works as the naloxone program coordinator for Caring Services Inc. in High Point. He teaches folks how to spot an overdose, how to respond and how to administer NARCAN.

"It's worked in many, many cases in law enforcement, many cases in the community," said Jeff Pruett, with Partnership for Community Care.

Pruett specializes in chronic pain treatment, working with Medicaid and uninsured patients in the Triad. He's seen firsthand how NARCAN opens the door for addicts to finally seek treatment.

"Sometimes it may take two, three, five opportunities to get into before a person says they're ready," Pruett said. "Big thing is, we want to make sure they live through it so they do that."

Pruett says there is a coordinated effort to bring stakeholders to the table to tackle the opioid crisis, and gave a lot of credit to Governor Cooper's administration for North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan.

Holleman says making naloxone available to everyone in the community, not just first responders, goes a long way.

"This population is afraid to call 911," Holleman said. "Because what has happened historically is they've been arrested or put in jail."

Through the program, he says they've given out more than 500 naloxone kits and heard of over 80 reversals in High Point from those kits.

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