A retired South Florida firefighter-medic is on a mission to educate and distribute a lifesaving drug to people nationwide.
Luis Garcia taught hundreds at FSW in Fort Myers how to distribute Narcan Friday.
“I’ve gone all over Florida,” Garcia said. “I’ve never seen the turnout that we’re seeing in Southwest Florida.”
Garcia through his community organization, USA Opioid Crisis Mortality Reduction with Narcan, travels in state and nationwide and gives out free Narcan and provides education and training on how to administer the drug to people who may need it due to drug overdose.
“I go around the USA, and I do two-hour classes and give citizen good Samaritans Narcan,” Garcia said.
Garcia’s mission also helps to debunk some myths that surround the beneficial drug. That’s why Garcia goes over CPR, harm reduction and every type of Narcan a regular person can administer, which includes auto-injectors and nasal sprays. Garcia said the nasal sprays are the most powerful and user friendly.
“It will work even if they’ve had fentanyl, car fentanyl, synthetic fentanyl,” Garcia said. “And it’s quite easy to use.”
Police, teachers and business owners can all have the knowledge to save a life.
“I think that’s what we need to do: Try to support them and keep them alive until they are ready to make the choice to seek recovery,” volunteer Sara Couper said. “My son Maxwell died of a drug overdose Nov. 1, 2016. He had just turned 19 years old.”
Drug abuse and overdose can impact anyone.
“I’ve had a little sister die from overdose and a boyfriend die of overdose,” said Rebecca Resheske, a trainee at the meeting. “If I can help just one person, this is like a way to help someone immediately.”
Garcia is also on a mission to show that anyone can save a life. He said about 300 people registered for his class at FSW Friday. He urges people who can to show up to his 6 p.m. class. It’s free of charge.
“Narcan brings people back from death,” Garcia said. “Every life is worth saving. Everybody deserves a second chance.”