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Birmingham man in recovery urging people to keep Narcan

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:30 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Drug overdose deaths hit an all-time high in Jefferson County last year. 401 people died from overdoses and it doesn’t seem to be slowing this year. The Jefferson County Coroner says as of May 12, 101 people have died from overdoses so far, with 42 others suspected of overdose death.

It’s an issue Kyle Berman says isn’t getting better.

“I lost a friend yesterday,” he said. “He was one of my best friends in recovery... I have lost a friend every week, and sometimes multiple friends a week. Some of the friends I’m closer with, some of them are just people that I know.”

Addiction is a harsh reality many people are dealing with and Berman says he understand because he’s been there.

“So I was introduced to cocaine at a very young age -- 16 years old,” Berman said. “It’s a progressive illness so I didn’t immediately become addicted to it but as time went on, and to deal with certain traumas in my life, I continued to use and it escalated. I ended up homeless on the street from 2014 to 2016 in South Florida. Every fiber of my being, I wanted to stop using and I couldn’t.”

Berman says he was court-ordered into a treatment facility and everything changed. He’s almost four years sober now.

“It’s only because of the people who came before me that I am alive today, and the people that supported me in those times,” he said. “So now I spend a lot of my time, my free time, helping others like me because I’m tired of people dying.”

He lost his younger sister in February and his older sister was saved by Narcan last year.

“It took four doses of Narcan to bring her back,” said Berman. “Not one, not two, but four because of how powerful Fentanyl is.”

The Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH) describes Narcan or Naloxone as a prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose; it cannot be used to get high and it is not addictive.

Berman carries Narcan with him and now he wants everyone to carry it: “Get some Narcan. You’re more likely to save a life with Narcan than with anything else.”

JCDH carries free opioid overdose kits and each one comes with two doses of Narcan. For more information on getting a kit, visit their website.

Berman wants those dealing with addiction to know they are not alone and there is a better life to be lived on the other side of recovery.

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