Narcan and fentanyl strips at free store hosted by SWLA Health Education Center

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 10:48 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A press conference Thursday brought to attention the opioid crisis in Calcasieu Parish.

With 41 deaths since the beginning of 2021, on Saturday the Southwest Louisiana Health Education Center (SWLAHEC) hosted a free store.

Among the toilet paper, granola bars, and cases of water they were also providing fentanyl test strips and Narcan.

“We don’t condemn, and we don’t condone,” says Kristen Gonzalez, Harm Reduction Coordinator. “But we realize that if we want to help people to get better, if we want to keep people safe in the meantime while they seek out treatment or even if they don’t - the point of the fentanyl test strips is to keep people alive right now.”

Lex Landreneau used the resources SWLAHEC provided to seek help.

“I was lucky like I cried with happiness because I was able to get in.”

Landreneau, a volunteer now, says she is thankful.

“It’s not how I feel now, but for a long time it was, and I never thought that I would see this kind of program and this kind of help in my community - and the fact that I do now has awoken a passion in me and a fight to just helping my people.”

Gonzalez says awareness is a solution.

“We wanted people to know that there are solutions, there are ways that you can keep yourself safe from overdose, there are ways that you keep your community safe from overdose. People, who use drugs, can’t reverse their own overdose right? So this is an initiative to educate the community that we can all save a life.”

They will be hosting these drives monthly at different locations.

For more information and resources, call 337-930-2286.

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