With opioid use on the rise, thousands of anti-overdose kits to be distributed statewide

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twenty-five years ago, Storm broke her back when she fell 40 feet from the Manoa Falls hiking trail.

"I was in excruciating pain. That accident hurt me a lot," she said.

Storm, who only uses her first name, got hooked on pain pills. And when her prescription ran out, she turned to heroin.

Eight years ago she overdosed. First responders brought her back with an injection of anti-overdose medication called Naloxone.

"It saves your life like that. It's miraculous, almost," she said.

Advocates want that life-saving drug to be more widely accessible.

In the next few months, The CHOW Project will help the state distribute 20,000 Naloxone kits.

"We can get it into anybody's hands who might be at risk of an overdose," executive director Heather Lusk said. "Our data tells us that our kupuna are more at risk with their prescription medications."

Hawaii averages close to 60 deaths a year from prescription painkiller and drug overdoses. This year on Oahu, Naloxone reversed 45 drug overdoses, including a woman who collapsed in front of CHOW worker Jean Mooney.

"I actually had my co-worker draw up the Naloxone in the syringe and I injected it in her arm." she said.

The state Department of Health estimates up to 6,000 people a year in Hawaii are treated for substance abuse, but up to 100,000 go untreated.

For her part, Storm says she's working toward her recovery.

"It's very easy to overdose, especially if you're very tired or you've been drinking, or whatever reason," she said. "Having this Naloxone available to people to administer to those who are addicted, it's the difference between life and death."

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