Little Five Points pharmacist gives away Narcan to combat overdose problem

(Source: WGCL)

Ira Katz is not just a community pharmacist at the Little Five Points Pharmacy.

Lately, he's been a life saver more times than anyone would like.

In the last three weeks, he's seen three different young men, passed out in the parking lot in front of his business. They had all overdosed on drugs.

Fortunately, he keeps Narcan in stock.

"The first person was in the car," Katz said. "The second person had passed out down the sidewalk over there. The third person was between us," he told CBS46 Reporter Hayley Mason. "Three in three weeks, it's very, very unusual, but thank God we were able to get all three of theses individuals," he went on.

Trying to make a difference, Katz has been giving away the life-saving overdose reversal drug Narcan, also known by it's generic name Naloxone, to nearby business owners.

"They don't know what they're shooting up," Katz said. "Stuff on the street could be laced with methamphetamine. It could be laced with heroine. It could be laced with cocaine, or fentanyl or some derivative of the fentanyl. It's deadly."

Larry Hammack works a few doors down from Katz at the Foxoves and Ivy Floral Design Studio.

He says he has seen four people overdosed in recent weeks but one man refused his help.

He called Katz and his staff "the community angels."

"After the second or third one, we all started talking and Ira said he'd be willing to jump in and teach the part about how to react to a drug overdose and the symptoms to look for and how to properly does Narcan," said Hammack.

One music store owner picked up a free box of Narcan for his store with CBS46 cameras were at the pharmacy. "If you need more, we have it," Katz told the business owner.

Katz told CBS46 that while Narcan is a prescription drug, Good Samaritan Laws allow pharmacists to distribute it in times of need without a prescription.

He's hoping more surrounding businesses will lock their bathroom doors to deter users from doing drugs inside. A deadly problem the Little Five Points community has seen in the last several months.

"I'm happy to say we revived three people," Katz said. "I wish I didn't have to do it, but this is a very real problem and it's not just here in this particular area, or downtown Atlanta. It's everywhere. It's in smaller communities, and that's why I and several of my colleagues are stressing to pharmacists and ll pharmacies to have naloxone available for anybody who might need it," Katz said.

Katz is holding a community awareness meeting about opioid and drug addiction Thursday, July 5 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Sevandanda on Moreland Avenue.

He will demonstrating CPR and explaining how to properly administer Narcan.

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