Kits to build a house
ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The young residents of Covenant House know what it's like on the streets, and that often includes drugs.
"In all reality, we're at our wits end with getting high and being miserable, " said Nichelle Williams, as she described her previous battle with heroin addiction. "We just want that help."
Thursday morning, members of the Alaska Opioid Task Force came to Covenant House, in order to give the residents training on how to use Naxolone, also known under the brand name Narcan.
"In most cases, when you give Naloxone, this can reverse the overdose immediately, " said Andy Jones of the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services.
After the training session, the young residents were asked to help assemble Narcan kits that will later be distributed statewide, free of charge.
"I know a lot of people here are doing this for the people that we know and that we don't know, " said Andy Swaggert, a Covenant House resident. "To give them some kind of hope that if something happens or goes wrong, someone's gonna have the right tools to take care of them."
State officials acknowledged that there is debate about offering Naloxone to the public.
"Naloxone can save a life, " said chief medical officer and director Dr. Jay Butler. "Some people say, 'Aren't you just enabling?' Well, it is a gateway drug, but it's a gateway to life and gateway to an opportunity for recovery."
Some of the Covenant House residents hope the kits will offer hope to young people who are are struggling with drug addiction, and will help them overcome the stigma of drug use.
"I felt judged and bashed, " said Williams. "I didn't want to go get help. I just stayed out and kept getting high. And really, that's how most people die. They try to go get help - see the judgment and hear the judgment from people - and it stops the hope for people. It stops people from thinking there's hope, and that there's help in the world."
Williams added "For the public, I think if you see somebody that is calling for help - help them. Don't just sit there, judge them and make them feel like there's no hope."