OK: Tulsa harm reduction group helps prevent overdose deaths

On Wednesday, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more Americans died from overdose deaths than in 2020 than ever before. More than 93,000 Americans died from accidental overdoses during the pandemic.

Hana Fields, co-founder of Stop Harm on Tulsa Streets, is doing everything she can to prevent overdose deaths in Green Country.

“When you don’t have Narcan, an overdose can be fatal. It can rip apart a family and a community, and when you do have Narcan it can be like nothing,” Fields said. “You just wake up.”

Fields started SHOTS three years ago. Narcan is just one of the overdose preventatives the team supplies.

The group of volunteers distributes clean syringes and Fentanyl test strips through deliveries and outreach.

“It’s grown drastically. We see 100 to 150 people every week,” Fields said. “We’ve seen a lot of people look a lot healthier than when they started to come to see us.”

Fields said SHOTS has distributed 5,000 doses of Narcan in the past three years. She said 193 people have called the team saying it saved their lives.

“It feels just as good as the first time we heard it every time,” Fields said.

Otherwise, those lives may have been added to the record number of accidental overdose deaths, last year.

“We’ve all lost someone,” Fields said about her and her fellow SHOTS team members. “Probably someone young. Probably someone just starting off in their life.”

That was almost Fields, herself. The needle exchange activist almost lost her own life to a drug overdose before she got clean.

“I overdosed and woke up in the hospital one time and I was revived with Narcan,” she said.

Now, her mission is not to change others’ lives, like she changed her own, but to make it a little safer so one day they will have the chance to make that choice themselves.

“That feeling when you hear the work you do prevent that in someone else’s family and in someone else’s community…I’ll never get over it. It’s so powerful,” Fields said.

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently made needle exchange programs legal in the state. Fields said the change will open more doors for SHOTS to promote its drug overdose resources.

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Tags: Addiction Services Harm Reduction Naloxone Opioid Epidemic Overdose Programs" >Fentanyl
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