Spike in demand for free heroin antidote kits

CREATED Apr 23, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - It is express training to treat heroin overdoses.  At clinics operated by AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin, users or their loved ones can get Narcan for free.

There has been a spike in demand for the life-saving drug, also known by the generic name Naloxone.
 
Just three years ago, clinics gave out about 200 kits per month.  Now, ARCW distributes more than 1,000 kits per month.
 
Kacie Wolfgram became addicted to heroin as a college student after losing her sister.
 
"It starts small and just keeps growing," she told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
 
Wolfgram has both received and given injections of Naloxone.
 
"For me, it took a few minutes and then I started to come to again," she recounted.
 
In the time in takes to drink a cup of coffee, you can leave the clinic with training and a kit containing heroin's antidote. 
 
"Unfortunately, people are going to engage in this behavior," said Bill Keeton, the agency's vice president of government and public relations.  "We really actually provide a continuum of services to help them find sobriety."
 
Kacie says she's been sober for four years.  She now works as a counselor for ARCW.
 
"I wouldn't have gotten my degree," Wolfgram said.  "I wouldn't be able to pay it forward and I don't know if i would be here."
 
In 2013, 67 people died of a heroin overdose in Milwaukee County.  That is more than six times the number of people who died from overdosing on heroin a decade ago.