Mom takes new approach to son's heroin problem

Posted at 6:40 AM, May 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-16 06:58:25-04

The Ohio Department of Health is launching a new campaign Monday aimed at educating people on the signs of an opiate overdose and encouraging those who are around addicts to carry Naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose.

"I can't make him stop using, but if I can save one of them, I'm going to do it," said a Lakewood mother who did want to be identified.

The mother said all three of her adult children are addicted to heroin. Sunday night, she took one of them to a local Walgreens pharmacy to buy Naloxone after she used it to save his life two days ago.

"Some people might say it's giving him the okay to go out and use," she said. "It's not. It's giving me the okay to go out and save him one day."

Naloxone is sold over-the-counter at some area Walgreens and CVS stores. It can also be obtained through Project DAWN at Metrohealth Medical Center. With insurance, Naloxone is often free. Without it, was quoted a price of $25 for two doses.

The mother said she wanted the trip to the pharmacy to be a teaching moment.

"You're going to go up and you're going to get it," she told her son. "You're going to know what it feels like to walk up in there and get something that is saving your life."

The state's six-month campaign targets 15 counties where the heroin problem is particularly bad. That includes Cuyahoga, Lorain, Stark, Summit and Warren counties. It includes billboards and radio spots. The cost is reportedly $200,000 plus another $90,000 to increase the amount of Naloxone that counties can purchase.

"I need to get it," said Sandy Premura of North Ridgeville. Her son has been a heroin addict for the past nine years.

Premura plans to get Naloxone soon because she wants to be prepared if her son relapses around her. At the moment, he is in a recovery home in Youngstown.

"My heart is broken," she added. "You hope and pray that you don't get a phone call from someone that will tell you that they're gone."