(WHTM) – When a person overdoses, every second counts to get them help and save their life.
That’s why the National nonprofit, Never Use Alone, was founded in 2019 to stop overdoses.
Here is how it works.
Before a person is about to use any type of drug, they will call the 24/7 Never Use Alone hotline at 1-800-484-3731 and get connected with a trained volunteer operator.
“Our callers connect with us when they are alone and are going to use a substance that carries a high risk of overdose. Most of our callers are using opiate, fentanyl, heroin, opiate pain pills, things like that,” said Never Use Alone call center manager Amber McCarty.
The person doesn’t need to give the operator their real name. The most important information is the address where you are using drugs, the type of drug and how you are using it.
“That’s important information we need to know so we know how long to stay on the line. So, we get that information. We ask if they have Narcan, we ask they unlock the door or, you know, put up pets and things like that, and then they’re allowed to go ahead and do their substance. They do it on the line with us,” said McCarty.
McCarty says they can be on the phone with a user from a few minutes to 30 minutes.
McCarty says most of their callers are injecting and with injections it’s fast and often with injection overdoses the user still have the needle in their arm.
If the user stops responding and the operator suspects an overdose.
“We would call this National Dispatch Service and they would we would give them the address we got, and they would dispatch to that local EMS,” said McCarty.
Midstate mom, Laurie Mishler, lost her daughter Sara Mishler a few years ago to an accidental overdose.
“I wish my daughter had the chance. Would she have used that? I don’t know. But there’s a possibility she could have,” said Sara’s House of Hope owner Laurie Mishler.
Laurie started her nonprofit, Sara’s House of Hope in Lemoyne a few years ago and says anything that may help save lives is worth a try.
“I know people will say you are enabling and they’re doing this and that, but in all honesty, you’re not enabling. You’re just trying to help them not die. And it’s a sickness. It’s a disease. And it’s not something they’re choosing to do. They’re doing it to try and stay alive because the drugs are killing them. But that’s their sole purpose, is to try and get that fix so they feel better,” said Laurie.
Since 2019, the Never Use Alone hotline has received almost 23,000 calls and have saved 106 lives.
“I’ve had hundreds of people cry to me and just cry their hearts out saying, I don’t want to do this and I can’t. I don’t want to live like this anymore,” said McCarty.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 106,699 people died from an overdose in 2021.