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SWFL honors those lost to drug overdoses

Posted at 11:08 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 23:08:18-04

FORT MYERS, FLA — Heartbreak is something the community came out to address Tuesday on International Overdose Awareness Day.

That's because according to the CDC, overdose drug deaths are up. In Florida alone, there were 2,000 more deaths in 2020 than there were in 2019. And experts fear 2021 will beat those numbers.

"I had lost both of my granddaughters to fentanyl overdoses. One in February and one in July," said Donna Arnold.

They're numbers, that translate to real people, like Arnold's two granddaughters, who were 20 and 22.

"The impact it has on the family is devastating," she said.

Community advocates say the quickest way to prevent that expected rise in deaths, is through immediate intervention like Narcan.

"After you administer, if it hasn't already been done you need to absolutely call 9-1-1," said Dr. Denise Traficante.

Doctor Traficante gave out the lifesaving drug to folks and even taught them how to use it, But, she and other advocates say Narcan is only a temporary solution.

"Narcan is important. I love seeing a reversal. But I am tired of passing out Narcan, I am ready for this to end," said Ramona Miller of A Voice in the Wilderness Empowerment Center.

And though it may take some time, they say there is a way to get to that "end" they're hoping to see.

"We can curb it one day, one life at a time if we one pay attention to one another, number two we become accountable to one another and number three we allow people to tell us how they're feeling," said Miller.