The heroin epidemic in our state is at alarming levels.
Arizona ranks second in the nation when it comes to deaths due to a drug overdose according to a recent report from HealthGrove.
Currently, House Bill 2355 sits at Governor Doug Ducey’s desk. If signed into law, it would allow drug users and family members access to the drug called Naloxone, which is sold under the brand name Narcan, among others. The drug reverses the opiate effect on the brain caused by the heroin and literally brings the person back from the overdose.
Michelle Hamby is a proponent of the bill. Her two children died of a heroin overdose in recent years.
"She was smoking heroin to begin with, and then she started doing IV," says Hamby.
Hamby is referring to her daughter Brianna. Her daughter overdosed after taking a nap in her room on March 14, 2013.
"I went in to shut her alarm, and I found her collapsed on the floor with the needle still in her hand," Hamby said.
After her daughter’s death, Hamby's journey began. She says she became an "expert" in the drug and was now destined to help her other son deal with a heroin addiction as well.
"They can't pull themselves out of it, heroin is Satan himself," Hamby said.
After being in rehab for about 10 months and then becoming the sober living house manager, her son overdosed on April 28.
"If I could save one person from dying, one mother from going through what I am going through, I would be doing my job," Hamby said.
Currently, first responders have the Naloxone on hand, thanks to a bill that turned into law last year. The hope is that the same access that first responders have to this counter effective drug will be given to drug users and those who are around them, like family members.
"It is heavier material than the opioid and it throws the opioid receptors off the brain, restores the person's breathing within minutes," said Haley Coles with the Sonoran Prevention Works.
"I believe if I had had that, I would have saved Brianna," said Hamby.
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