When Elijah, an 18-year-old Full-Service Partnership (FSP) Pacific Clinics client, attended the recent “Hold onto Hope: Preventing an Overdose with Narcan” event, he did not know that it would lead to him saving a stranger’s life just days later.
“When you are given a name like Elijah … He raised people from the dead, it can be a lot to live up to. I guess I lived up to my name that day,” said Elijah in reference to being named after the biblical prophet raising a young boy from death.
Elijah approached the Metro Gold Line platform as he had done many times before. However, on this particular day, he saw a group of people off to the side of the platform, surrounding an unconscious man lying beside drug paraphernalia.
From his time as a previously unhoused person living on the streets of Los Angeles, he knew what addiction could do and what it looked like. “[They] deserve to be loved and cared for as much as anyone else,” Elijah explained.
His first thought when he saw the unconscious man was “[it’s] not my business; leave it alone.” Then, he thought back to the Narcan event, where he had learned how to administer the lifesaving drug from experts and had even received a kit for a situation just like the one he was facing. “I told myself, I prepared for this moment.”
Elijah went into action and administered two doses of Narcan.
“They taught us that Narcan will not harm the person. It was just like they showed us at the event.”
After the second dose, the man started to show signs of breathing and another individual started CPR. “I was so relieved. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. When the man awoke, he began to cry and shared that he relapsed after a fight with his spouse and that he missed his children.
“When the paramedics showed up, I started to cry,” Elijah said. “I felt a little bit overwhelmed.”
A bystander came over to Elijah and told him he had done his good deed.
Narcan, or Naloxone, is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. For more information about Narcan, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.