I AM EVIDENCE THAT NALOXONE WORKS.

My recovery began nine years ago. I had overdosed, an ambulance was called and Naloxone was used to save my life. I guess you could say that I was a ‘chaotic opioid user’. I was prone to overdose situations, often because of poly drug use. There have also been occasions in my life when I have overdosed and been left to chance and it was just sheer luck that I survived.

I know of many who have not been so lucky and some, like me, who would not be here today if Naloxone hadn’t been available at that time and place.

My life is full now. I am passionate about my work in advocacy, training and consultancy and I am currently in the process of relaunching our local mutual aid collective.

I am evidence that Naloxone works. Naloxone saved my life and kick started my recovery, yet it’s still a postcode lottery as to who will be saved and who will be left to chance. Hundreds of people who inject drugs accidentally overdose every year and don’t make it.

Like me, they could be here today.

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You can find out more information about naloxone and help us to campaign for a national programme in England on the Naloxone Action Group (NAG) England website.

WE ARE A HAPPY FAMILY WITH A GOOD LIFE THANKS TO NALOXONE

My son was just 3 years old when his father died from alcohol poisoning. It was a hard time for all of us, especially my son.

Life moved on and I met my current partner. I didn’t know that he was using until I got the call from the hospital. He had accidentally overdosed on heroin and valium and was technically dead. Three shots of Naloxone saved his life. I’d never heard of Naloxone before. It doesn’t bear thinking about what life would be like if it hadn’t been available that night. Addiction is a terrible illness and accidental overdoses do happen. I believe that Naloxone should be made available to everyone and anyone who is living with drug addiction. I would happily be trained to administer it.

My partner is in recovery now and has been clean for over 3 months. We are a happy family with a good life, thanks to Naloxone.

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You can find out more information about naloxone and help us to campaign for a national programme in England on the Naloxone Action Group (NAG) England website.

ADDICTS CAN RECOVER. WE DO FEEL AND WE ARE ENTITLED TO LIVE

I am an addict. I have used drugs and alcohol for most of my life. It was in May last year when calamity hit. I had been abstinent from opiates for 18 months and was just smoking cannabis and using a rare valium when I could get it. I couldn’t get any cannabis that day but I managed to get some valium and popped the lot and then I did something insane, I injected heroin.

As soon as the barrel on the syringe was down I was gone. Luckily I wasn’t using alone and my friend called the paramedics. I remember briefly coming round after the first shot of Naloxone in the ambulance and then again after the third shot in hospital.

I see Naloxone as my miracle, my chance to be a good parent, partner, son and brother. Without this drug I wouldn’t be here writing this. I am now totally abstinent. I have started a degree course at the Open University, I’m a recovery coach and I’m taking my driving test soon. I have an amazing sponsor and for the first time in my life I feel that I have the power to choose whether I use or not, rather than how long I can hold out for.

I want to train to administer Naloxone and campaign for all governments to fund this wonder drug. Addicts can recover. We do feel and we are entitled to live.

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You can find out more information about naloxone and help us to campaign for a national programme in England on the Naloxone Action Group (NAG) England website.

HE KNEW WHAT TO DO, HE HAD BEEN TRAINED TO ADMINISTER NALOXONE JUST A FEW MONTHS BEFORE

On the day that I’ll never forget, something felt wrong from the start. At this point in my life I would describe my heroin habit as ‘raging’. Selling and smoking smack was my daily routine. On this day, my supplier was late, which had never happened before. I gave up waiting, scored elsewhere and injected. Maybe it was because it was stronger gear, maybe it was because it had been a while since I’d injected. I don’t know. I overdosed.

There were guys in the house at the time waiting for the dealer and one of them was my good friend who is now also my life saver. As soon as I went down he knew what to do, he had been trained to administer Naloxone, just a few months before. By the time the paramedics arrived I was already conscious. I was still advised to go to hospital as Naloxone is only a temporary reversal. I would never have gone in the past but this time I did and so began my recovery, my journey away from using everyday.

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You can find out more information about naloxone and help us to campaign for a national programme in England on the Naloxone Action Group (NAG) England website.

NALOXONE SAVES LIVES.

Trust me, I know because Naloxone saved mine and more than once.

I have been given Naloxone 3 times in my life when I have overdosed on heroin. Like me, most addicts don’t mean to overdose but unlike me not everyone has been so lucky. The last time I overdosed my mum saved me too. The paramedics later said that I was 30 seconds from being pronounced dead. It was mum who told them that I could have overdosed on heroin and they administered Naloxone and it got my heart beating again straight away.

I’m clean now and fulfilling my dream as a writer. If I had one wish it would be that Naloxone was available to people on the street with the training to administer it.

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You can find out more information about naloxone and help us to campaign for a national programme in England on the Naloxone Action Group (NAG) England website.

Coming soon…

Our 50th anniversary is over but there are so many people’s recovery stories to tell that we are going to keep posting…

From Monday the stories will have a naloxone theme to raise awareness of this life saving medicine. You can find out more about naloxone and how you can help them push government for a UK roll out on the Naloxone Action Group England website.

Fatou’s Story

My mum died the day I was born. Complications and loss of blood. So it was just me and my dad. I owed him, he used to say.

He has been dead for 8 years now and I am slowly starting to believe that he won’t be able to touch me again and that perhaps I will have a chance to love and be loved instead of feeling dirty, ashamed and helpless.

Last year I met Bill at my doctors surgery. Bill worked for Blenheim. He was there every week when I would go to get my script. Every week I talked to him a little bit more and after 6 months I gave in to Bill and went to Blenheim. It was in the Wednesday Women’s group that I spoke about my father for the very first time. It was like the words took a hold of me, like I was in a silent movie and an actress was saying my lines. Then my tears took over and I didn’t want to stop until I had wept him out of me.

Last week I did something I thought I would never do. I went out on a date. We are going out again next week.

Fatou's story

Yasmin’s Story

I came to England from Iran over 30 years ago. My husband died ten years later and I felt completely alone. I didn’t know anybody else. Even though he used to beat me, it was not everyday and I loved him and missed him too much. I had never tried alcohol or drugs in my life before because I thought they were evil and I was too frightened. When my husband died I didn’t care about my life anymore so I started to smoke some cannabis and it helped to ease my feelings of emptiness. Drugs were easy to buy where I lived so I tried crack cocaine and that helped too.

I became ill and it was my doctor who contacted Blenheim. I didn’t want to be helped but after a while I preferred to go to the groups than be on my own with my cannabis and crack. Blenheim’s Women’s group helped me to accept that I deserved more from my life and that my husband was really the one who had needed help. After a while I was going to Blenheim everyday and to the weekend activities. It makes me laugh to think that my first friends in this country were all drug addicts.

Blenheim helped me through detox and rehab and my Blenheim volunteer helped me to move into my new supported housing. I am now drug-free for over 10 months and I still cannot believe that this has happened to me but I do believe that I am more happy and content than I have ever been before.

Yasmin's story

Juan’s Story

Hola. My name is Juan but you can call me John if you like. Everybody does now. Our mother always said that our father died a hero and our step father was a bigger hero because he bought us to London and a better life. I didn’t see it as a better life, but I could see that mum was happy so for a long time I pretended I was too.

Then I met Sylvie and it was a better life. I instantly and completely fell in love with her, she was infectious and life was exciting.

It wasn’t long before I discovered that Sylvie was addicted to cocaine and after a few months I was too. I was working at a department store on Oxford Street at the time. Every penny I earned went on Sylvie and cocaine but it wasn’t enough. When I was caught shop lifting by my manager the humiliation was my wake up call. Instead of calling the police my manager took me to Blenheim. I will never forget the risk she took and her act of compassion was my motivation to my recovery.

I never did see Sylvie again I suppose she’s with some other mug now.

Juan's story

Chrissie’s Story

I had a happy childhood and did well at school and went on to study medicine. I met my husband, Simon when I was 28, we worked at the same health centre and we had our twin girls Freya and Isabelle 3 years later. I loved every part of my life.

I was away at a conference when it happened, when my life was ripped apart. I was told that it was instant, so they didn’t suffer, as if that was some comfort. The driver was convicted of dangerous driving, as if that was some comfort. No, the alcohol and prescription drugs were my only comfort, the only things that could numb the pain.

I was terrified about my first appointment at Blenheim. I walked past the door a hundred times that morning before taking a deep breath and eventually pressing the buzzer. Seconds later a friendly face opened the door and I stepped inside.

That was two years ago and with time and Blenheim’s support I was able to replace the alcohol and drugs with groups and key work sessions, recovery plans and voluntary work.

I have moved away now, it helps to be somewhere new – I still pop into Blenheim when I’m in London, the friendly face is not always the same but the welcome I get is – a comfort that I don’t want to change.

Chrissie's story