Anti-overdose crusader brings life-saving drug to students

Luis Garcia demonstrates using Narcan

By Lianna Hubbard

A former Florida firefighter who crusades against opioid overdoses handed out 151 doses of Narcan, an opioid overdose reversing drug, at a public FSW demonstration last month.

“Nobody should be dying in this great country because they don’t have a nasal spray that can be legally administered by any 10-year-old in the country,” said Luis Garcia, founder of South Florida Opioid Crisis Mortality Reduction Project.

Narcan only reverses opioid overdoses. Even when people overdose on drugs other than opioids, Garcia said, the drugs are often laced with Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid deadlier than heroin.

Garcia taught opioid overdose symptoms to 242 FSW students: shallow breathing, purple undertone to the skin, weak or no pulse, and remain unresponsive to painful stimuli.

Garcia makes presentations across Florida as the opioid epidemic spreads. Lee County overdoses on heroin, fentanyl, and other drugs rose 800 percent since 2013. National overdose levels have been climbing since the 2000s.

All FSW public safety officers have carried Narcan since December. Garcia believes that everyone should have it.

He explained how students could get Narcan through their health insurance and handed out doses to uninsured students. Garcia urged those that could to reach out and get the lifesaving drug.

He stressed what to do if someone overdoses around the students: administer Narcan and then call 911.

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