NewsLocal NewsIn Your NeighborhoodLabelle

Actions

Hendry County introduces Narcan "leave-behind" kits to fight opioid overdoses

Hendry County says the program provides people and families with essential tools and training to prevent overdose deaths
Posted at 5:53 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 17:53:50-04

LABELLE, Fla. — Hendry County says it’s taking action against opioid overdoses with Narcan kits, which could save the life of someone having a drug overdose.

When Fox 4’s Hendry County Community Correspondent Austin Schargorodski found out the county will be giving the kits out, he started asking questions about how the “leave-behind” program will work.

Port LaBelle Inn, home to Justin's Place Addiction Recovery Program.
Port LaBelle Inn, home to Justin's Place Addiction Recovery Program.

Outside downtown LaBelle, Port LaBelle Inn houses Justin’s Place Addiction Recovery Program. The program’s director, Michael Aylen, said he knows first hand what it means to turn your life around.

Reflecting on his journey to recovery, Aylen said, “To come through the other end and find what a lot of people would consider decent long term sobriety and success with over seven years sober.”

Justin's Place Addiction Recovery Program Director, Michael Aylen.
Justin's Place Addiction Recovery Program Director, Michael Aylen.

Aylen said his addiction started in 2009 after he was severely injured in a car accident in his home state of Washington.

“I was an unlucky recipient of over-prescribing. I was placed on an allotted prescribing of 545 mg of Oxycontin a day which is quite a lot,” said Aylen.

For four years, Aylen said he was taking opioids every day. So, he said he moved here for the Justin’s Place program. Aylen said the program changed his life, so now he directs it so he can help do the same for other people.

“I get to share where I’ve been and where I don’t want to go back to, and now I have a passion for helping others get through the mess that is addiction,” said Aylen.

Aylen explained that having the right tools can be a crucial part of that process.

“The use of Narcan in our facility, in our homeless shelters, at stabilization and motivation tracks has saved countless lives,” he said.

“Since January of 2023 we have responded to 261 suspected overdoses with 15 of those being confirmed overdose deaths,” said Hendry EMS Chief Amy Stafford.

Hendry County's Chief of EMS, Amy Stafford.
Hendry County's Chief of EMS, Amy Stafford.

To combat this, after responding to a call of a person overdosing, Stafford said they “leave-behind” Narcan kits with the person and their family members to help prevent any future overdoses.

“We’ll have a kit that will include Narcan, it will have a pamphlet of what services are available, and a contact number," she said. "We’re going to train all the responsible adults that are on scene on how to use it and what are the signs and symptoms so if they needed it again they can go ahead and administer it."

Stafford said the county plans to begin rolling out the kits in the summer.