NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) -- More than 1,100 Virginians died last year from opioid overdose. That's why more and more people want to know how to save someone before it's too late.
First responders aren't the only ones who have the vital skills to save someone who has overdosed on drugs. Anyone can take the training, as public health agencies respond to the opioid crisis.
Recently in Newport News, Marlon Bacote completed the training known as "REVIVE." It teaches people how to recognize an overdose, perform CPR, and use the rescue drug Narcan. A few weeks after the class, Bacote had to think quickly and react when someone was non-responsive behind the wheel.
"There was a gentleman and his mother in the middle of the street and they were waving me down saying, 'He's dead, he overdosed, please help!" Bacote said. "It felt like God had me in the right place at the right time."
Someone had already called 911 about the man, who had rear-ended a Mustang. When Bacote ran up, he realized the man's vehicle was still running and in gear. He took a close look and saw a needle stuck in the driver's leg, with some blood in the syringe. He wasn't surprised.
"Heroin addicts like to see the blood go in and out. It's part of the high."
Bacote is a drug recovery specialist. He completed REVIVE training just two months ago -- and preparation met opportunity.
"I ran to the car and got the Narcan bag," Bacote said.
First, he performed CPR: Rescue breaths with a protective bag and then chest compressions. Bacote had the Narcan ready, but he didn't end up needing it. The man came back after CPR.
Bacote says the man didn't say anything as EMTs walked him to the ambulance. He was treated, released, booked on drug and DUI charges and is out on bond. But most importantly, he's alive, thanks to quick action by someone he never met.
"Having been experienced, that training allowed me to jump into action," Bacote said. "There was no hesitation."
Alethea Lambert coordinates REVIVE training for Hampton and Newport News Community Services. She's glad to see the training is making a difference.
"It's really great to know that a life has been saved or that someone is really utilizing the training," Lambert said.
Lambert has said this before to her trainees, but now it has even more impact: "Keep your eye open and keep your REVIVE kit handy. You never know when you're gonna need it."
The Hampton Newport News Community Services Board has a REVIVE training session coming up later this month. It's just one of several agencies that offer REVIVE. Learn more about the training here.
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