Today on The Jay Allen Show, Jay speaks with Brittany Smith. During the conversation Brittany discusses overdose, depression and the benefits of narcan and why more places need it.

Hear it all today on The Jay Allen Show.

Show Notes

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Here are the links discussed by Brittany Smith during the episode

The transcript is not perfect

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Also known as Narcan. I had the privilege and the honor sitting down with Brittany smith to talk about this all important conversation. So, I want to talk about this real quick before we get into the episode before Covid 19. The nation's mental health wasn't that great during Covid 19. It has been disastrous In 2019. There was a record number of suicides over 47,000 And overdoses of over 70,000. As well as a high rates of depression and anxiety among young people throw COVID into the mix and depression rates have tripled. As of last June fatal overdoses increased in an all time record high of 81,000. So I think that this conversation today is extremely important as we are continuing, going down the path of what we're seeing with Covid and the things that are going on. So I want you to sit back and take a listen of this conversation that I have today with Brittany smith on the J allen show. Mhm. Safety FM. Changing safety cultures. What? One broadcast and one podcast at a time. So I guess we'll start off from the very beginning. I know that we had actually started off with a conversation and we started talking about addiction and we got into the conversation of Narcan and I really thought we were such a very important message to talk about. How did you start getting involved with the whole thing and even going into the conversation about dark and how did it come about into your life? Well, I mean I'd have to go way back to you know like when I was 13, you know and I discovered drugs and alcohol and you know I mean that's the story in and of itself, but I'm a person in long term recovery um I will actually have two years clean and sober, june 13th, so um thank you, thank you. So I have been uh I guess you know, lack of terminology of fortunate you know drug user because I've never overdose, I never experienced that. However back in um June of 2018, my mother was found unresponsive in the living room um and my dad, you know tried to give her Narcan, this was you know before they had the nasal um from doses and my dad was trying to revive her but you know he couldn't, you know, so that kind of, that was where the seed was planted, you know when it comes to dealing with Narcan and then of course being in the arena of recovery, the unfortunate thing is is, you know, relapse happens man and people don't make it back, you know, so you hear a buzz about Narcan, you know, and again june I don't know what's up with june but june 16th 2019 I moved up here and you know, began my recovery journey up here and for people that don't know, we're talking about north florida just just in case. Oh yeah, okay, so I'll back up, I'm born and raised, robert county lived there 30 years, 29 years of my life and south florida for the non Floridians in our, in our group because that will yeah, sorry, so Fort Lauderdale, you know, so the Fort Lauderdale area, that's where I was born and raised, and me and my husband, we actually relocated up here for a business opportunity, but I mean I'm a spiritual person and the job opportunity never happened. However, I created the most solid sobriety I've ever had in my life. So you know, when I say spiritual, you know, God plays a huge factor in my life and I think the job opportunity was me to relocate up here. So anyways, so with my networking going on here within the recovery community in New Smyrna Beach, um I got connected with some people to do some outreach services, you know, speak to the homeless people, you know, volunteer, um I was pregnant, I, you know, I wasn't doing much except online school, I was doing full time school at Daytona State, you know, and so I had a lot of free time and didn't really know what to do with myself. So I got in touch with um this organization called Volusia Recovery Alliance and what they are, they're community Recovery Organization and what that means is we have certified um recovery peer specialists um um who helped people get into recovery. We meet people where they're at, we don't force recovery down their throat. You know, if they call and say hey, you know, I'm thinking about going into recovery. Okay well we'll sit there and we'll talk you through what you're going through and you know, decide what the best decisions are for them. It's kind of like we coach them in the right direction. So let's talk about that for a moment because there's probably really a couple of things that we probably need to answer just for us to have a better understanding, at least on on my side of the equation. Can you explain to people that might have never heard of Narcan on what it actually does and what would be the use on what it goes into and why would you would need to use that number one and then then then I'll then I'll ask you a follow up in regards to what you were just talking about. Okay so Narcan is an overdose reversal drug I actually uh training with me and I wish you could see me at the moment but I think we can put up a link possibly. Um So what it is it's a nasal doses to spray and it has a little plunger and you let's say you're at the store and you walk out and you notice someone on the front step of the store, you know they're passed out. You have Narcan on you, you go up to them, you announce yourself hey are you okay? You know are you k you know no response. You know do the sternum check you know um And then you grab the Narcan you put in there knows you just push the plunger one time. You know have the person lay on their back when she scored in their nose, you turn them on the their side in the recovery position which is on the left side, uh one leg bent arm extended over the head. You would put somebody in the recovery position for cpr give or take or if they were cleaning out a choking hazard scratch, scratch and so give it about 23 minutes after that first dose. If they're still not responsive um you administer the second dose. Now I mean the ideal situation is you have someone else with you and if you are in that scenario have them call 911 because number one you're probably going to be you know shocks, panics, whatever, you know you're trying to focus on the individual. You're trying to you know help when you're on the phone and I'm a one they're telling you all sorts of things. So I mean the buddy system is great usually. So does the Narcan give you 22 doses per for container or how does it end up working? As you said? One box is technically one dose because the first dose revives the second dose stabilizes until E. M. S. Gets on the scene and then they'll usually you know administer more Narcan if needed. Okay so here here's the weird part then because I know that we were having the conversation about this and we we had a brief discussion on how it's being used out in the field and you referenced that there's certain police departments that have access to it and that there's certain police departments that are not wanting currently to, we'll say quote unquote invest into giving this to their office surge. Is this something that you're seeing in the community that you're in or you're seeing this across the border? How is that working? Um It's hit and miss. Um I won't mention exactly which um departments and I don't believe you because you know, I am a um we are anarchy in distributor for the county of Lucia. So I believe for what I've heard, there's one or two that um that I know for sure that will not partake in, you know, having Narcanon on hands, I don't know if that's just you know, a personal preference from, you know, the uppers there or what, but I do know that it revolves around the stigma of harm reduction and the stigma of Narcan. You know, people think oh we can just go, you know, use drugs and not die because we have Narcan, but that's not that's not the actuality, you know, because if you've ever been Narcan you're going to know how that feels. It's the worst thing in the world from what I've been told. So the only thing that of course that I can think of that comes to mind and I have to go to movies because that's the way that it would work. Of course there is a older, much older movie at this point called pulp fiction where that's where I have to default to. Of course I just watched it the other day. Is it similar to that? I mean I know that we're talking about a shot of adrenaline for people who have watched the movie, Is it that initial reaction was? It can be now it also depends on how much drugs they have in their system. So if it's if it's let's say a little bit and it's like you know hypothetically speaking it's you know the first time using, so they only do a little bit and they overdose well if I give them just one of these plungers to the one they're going to react like that. Maybe not to that extent, but it's not uncommon to have someone come to and start swinging meaning you know, you know throwing hands, you know? Yeah yeah yeah. You know they vomit you know they'll you know have bowel movements sometimes you know you just don't know, you know, not everyone comes to the same way because it's an instant reversal, you know you're down and then you get that shot of adrenaline, so to speak, you know? So so let me ask you that then you say that you meet people where they're at when it when it comes about and you are giving people ideas on what they can do next for the recovery phase and so on. Does it normally start after taking Narcan. Is this normally where a good chunk of your conversations occur or do you find them in different segments that we would, that's what we would like, you know, but that involves you know hiring more staff to you know we would have to hire more more peer specialist then we would have to get in with the hospital, you know, where that's where they you know need us because they're receiving the individuals that have just came to from overdose, you know? So it's it's we're in the process of getting that to happen, But again, it's a process and a lot of a lot of people aren't certified to be peer specialists. And that's because I want a lot of people aren't aware of this position in the state of florida. And to a lot of people who are in recovery who would qualify to do these jobs or probably more qualified to do these jobs have backgrounds. And unless you can pass a level two background in the state of florida, you can't get certified. Okay. Is that is that something that you would see nationwide with a level two background? Now keep in mind that a level two background for the people that don't know is a higher tier of background than just a normal normal employment background. So is this something that you see that you would also recognize in other states? Or do you know the information? Mostly for florida only for florida? Because in the state of florida, our licenses are not usually recognized by other states. So I mean dependent. Yeah. You know, not florida. No. But yeah, so it's only in the state of florida and uh it's through the florida certification board and the licenses for these types of positions such as the um certified recovery pure specialists or recovery support specialists, you have recovery coaches, you know, behavioral health technicians, therapists, counselors. They all have to be licensed through the G. C. F. So that's where the level two background comes in at. So the DCF runs a level two background. And then if there's something on your record, you depending on what the charges are, they do allow you an exemption process, but again, that's a process. You have to regret requests, all your records, all the court documentations, letters of recommendation, how you've changed your life from then to now. You know? And then it's a waiting game and not just not just for nothing, but there's a financial obligation as well because you have to pay for all these records, you know, so and how and how long are we talking here? So let's say for instance, you request records, you have to go through the level to check. You're going through this process. What's the weight? Because you already have the money investment. You already know that you have the heart of a volunteer where you want to help to an extent to help others out. What are we talking? Normally timeline. Well I know of an individual. It took them three years because usually when when you send in your application it's not like, oh yeah you're good to go or no sorry. We we can't exempt you to the one there's corrections so it's going back and forth, back and forth. What did we miss? What did I miss? You know stuff like that and then they have to have an actual decision and sometimes it can go past whoever makes the decisions in, you know, wherever it can go to the governor, You know and see if they will sign off on it. But it all depends. I'm not sure the full 100 process but I mean it does hold a lot of us up from getting certifications too provide these services which is where our hearts out to begin with. J. So for years I have been telling you how I sleep so miserably at night. But that has all changed as of recent. And let me tell you why let me tell you about my friends at Helix Sleep Helix sleep has a sleep quiz that takes just about two minutes to complete and matches your body type and sleep preferences to the perfect mattress for you. Why should you buy a mattress made for someone else? What helix you're getting a mattress that you will know will be perfect for the way you sleep. Everybody is unique and Helix knows that. 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And wired magazine. Just go to Helix sleep dot com forward slash safety. That's helix sleep dot com for it slash safety. There take the two minutes sleep quiz and they'll match you up with a customized mattress that will give you the best sleep of your life. They have a 10 year warranty and you get to try the mattress for 100 nights risk free. They'll even pick it up if you don't love it. But you will. Helix is offering up to $200 off of all mattress orders and to free pillows for our listeners at Helix sleep dot com forward slash safety. That's helix sleep dot com forward slash safety for up to $200 off into free pillows. Don't forget to tell them the J Allen sent you and we are back on the J Allen show on safety fF. What are some of the requirements that are background wise? So let's let's not talk about the level two background. What I'm talking about. Are you required to have certain experience with X, Y or Z. Before they even depending of course, depending on the certification that you you want to go for, that determines the qualifications. So of course there's going to be some kind of experience. So if we're talking, if we're on the subject of Narcan and the the organization I volunteer for, we we are um certified recovery peer specialists. So to become one of those, you have to be a person in recovery for a minimum of two years or more, um someone who offers services or are affiliated with people who use drugs or are in recovery or a veteran. So, and then there is, I think there's gonna be another one, but don't quote me on that, you know, nobody's listening. Yeah, But um but yeah, so those are the qualifications and then you have to do a training, you have to do to different trainings, actually, you have to do a rap training, and then you have to have the, you know, the basic ethics and all that training as well. And then once you've done all that, let's say hypothetically speaking, you pass the level two background, you get your letter, okay, you're good to go now. You have to send in an application with, you're all the qualifications met, you've done all your training hours and everything you said in an application to the FcB, they make a decision on whether or not you're you qualify to take the test for the state certification and then if you get approved then they'll set you up for the test. Now you can apply for emergency and I think they scholarship you basically, but if you don't meet those requirements, then you have to pay for the test as well. And I would imagine that each state has something different that they do similar but different all at the same time. So as you're going through this training process and I'm just curious on my part of course, how long will the timeline are we talking? I know that you said the background along those lines can take up to three years. But when you're going through this training process, what are we talking about length of time? Because it sounds like a time commitment for sure. Besides the peer to peer advisor for two years that you've already had to be in recovery yourself. Right. Right. So it's it's for it's a 40 hour course within that 40 hours, you have 16 hours that's allotted for the rap training. So you have the 16 hours and then The rest of the 40 is your crp training and then you have to have your volunteer hours, Which is I think 200 volunteer hours, I believe. And then you have, I think another 100 or 200 of working hours. So like basically you're shadowing someone, you're you know, they're letting you do this stuff, you know, under their supervision. Um and then that that's the training right there. And then of course it's all the waiting time from sending and receiving, sending and receiving the correspondence. So I mean like I said, I know someone, it took them three years. Let me ask you this. Because as you're going through this process that you're going that you're wanting to get certified and you're wanting to help other people, how difficult is it to see some of the people that are struggling with some of the things that you might have potentially struggled with prior as you're going through the process, right? I mean it can be hard sometimes, you know, because like for me, I've been through a lot. You know, I won't go into like some crazy detail right now anyways, but I've been through a lot, you know, Again Yeah. Yeah, I'll tell my true story at a later time. Stay tuned. Um But yeah, you know, like in my case I have to apply for my Level two background. So because of my Level two background it makes it very difficult for me to go and you know, get my paid hours that I need for my certification. I mean I've done them but you have a five year length. You know, all your training is everything are good for five years. I believe 2-5 years they might have changed it, I can't remember. But you know, like I moved up here, you know, I'm in recovery and you know, I've worked in centres before, down south in south florida where it was never a problem, but they've made it a little harder, you know, a little more stricter on these backgrounds and which is fully understandable. I get it because we're dealing with, you know, vulnerable population and when you come into contact with the vulnerable population, they want to, you know, they want to make sure that you're there to do the right thing, you know? But with me not being able to pass a background, my sources are limited for how I can help people and when I see someone that's been in the same exact situation or similar, you know, to me and I can't help them because of where I'm at in my, you know, stage of getting certified or whatever. It it sucks, I can do stuff, you know, as an individual here at home. However, it's hard, it's so hard, you know, because a lot of people are 12 step oriented, so to speak, you know, and and I can understand that there's more than one way to get recovery. It's not just A A. Or N. A. It's not just see a, you know, it's not just smart recovery, it's whatever helps you, you know. For me my journey I started in a navigated to N. A. Went back to A. A. And now you know, I'm just kind of doing my own thing, you know? But that's what's working for me right now, You know, so on a on a 12 step level I can take someone through the steps, I can, you know, be somewhat of a role model to them, you know, be there sponsor, guide them in the right direction when it comes to recovery related issues, you know, But I'm not a therapist and let's just be honest with my background and all the you know, hurdles and red tape that, you know, has to be done and I probably won't be a therapist, you know, but I'm okay with that. I try to do what I can now and that's what I do with my, what the, nor can committee that I volunteer for for Evolution Recovery Alliance, you know, So as you've changed what you're doing and you're helping out with, with the recovery alliance and you're moving forward and you're doing these things, are you limited with some of the things that you're doing also inside of the organization because of the background. Uh, yeah. Yeah. So, um, like they are non profit organizations, so they qualify for grants, right? So in order for us to keep our doors open and to provide some services, we have, we, you know, the organization survives off the donations and grants right now and they've, you know, there are grass grassroots foundation. So they, you know, they've been in they've been running for, I believe, two years now, but so their latest grant that they got required any paid worker to have a level two background and pass it. And I don't pass it. So I don't, I can't, you know, I can't get the job. So, I mean, I know one day it's not gonna be like that and I have hope because things are changing politically speaking. Um, but, and listen, I'm not a politics person, I just, you know, have friends in the right places. So I hear the right things, if that makes sense, you know, from my networking, but it's, it all boils back down to stigma of being a drug user and being a person in recovery, you know, that's that's really where the meat, potatoes ar. But as you look as you look at this, so those details kind of limit you. But they're also the best suited people that you're one of the best suited people to be able to assist because, you know, some of the some of the trigger, some of the problems and so on. So what some of that going on, what can we do on the listener side of the equation, on helping to bring awareness to some of these things, on where some of these things might need to change. And also the awareness of Narcan and some facilities will say facilities and organizations not wanting to use or what can we do to assist dr this message home? Well, the biggest thing is again, I'll say the word stigma. You know, people have an image in their heads of what people like me are and it's totally not true, you know? In some cases Yeah, and in my in my case, you know, I probably fit the mold to the t you know, but I also know many people who grew up in a wonderful house, didn't have wants for anything, had everything and anything they needed yet they still turned out, you know, to be a drug user, losing everything, you know, whatever their cases, you know, and we just got to, we got to understand that it is a mental illness, you know, We're not we're not really seeing the big picture, you know, because 2-1, we're using drugs and alcohol to self medicate and you know, it's a snowball effect. And as far as the Narcan goes, you know, we never know if it's gonna work or not. Is a highly successful. Yes. However, we don't know what that person has ingested or how much that person has ingested. So if the narc in works and brings them back to life, that might be their chance that they're going to get recovery and they're going to stay clean and sober for you know the rest of their lives, you know? But we don't know. Yeah the Narcan may just be saving your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, your your Children, you know and until you're in that situation you're never really gonna understand that however you you know, people would still be open minded and not so judgmental because every day, you know people are walking a smile on their face but really they're battling demons that we don't even know of. You know, I mean there's no there's so many things to to unpack there as we go through it because you reference the depression side of it where people will turn to drugs to it. And I think that's a I think that's a bigger portion of the conversation that a lot of people don't talk about. At least that's my opinion from what I get to see. I get to see a lot of people dealing or dealing with suicide, sort of suicidal thoughts, dealing with depression where they turn to other mediums um to ease their mind or turn turn away their demons or fail their demons with something else. And then as you hear about this, it becomes such a struggle because okay, people that have experience with this, they're put into a category and it's difficult to get d categorized at times. Exactly, Exactly right. You're absolutely right. And you know, the more we talk about it, the more the stigma is lessons, but not enough people are talking about it, you know, you see a little bit here and there on the news, but what is it really? You know, they're just glorifying the death or the negative aspect of it, Not focusing on the positive side where the person went back to rehab. Okay great. They went they went back to rehab. You know, they're going to give this thing another go. You know like it's just for radiance and I know that but now with social media and hashtags and twitter and you know, you name it, more people are capable of you know, seeing the messenger hearing the message, you know, and if it doesn't help them it might help someone else. But all all all I can do with my social media and the messages that I share. All I hope is I plant that seed for you know, maybe one day, not you know, not that day, but one day in the future. You know, they might think about what I posted and that message that is sent and you know stop using drugs but you know I can't I can't be responsible for other people's actions. All I can do is lead by example, you know and my Choice up programme says really have we seen a person fell who has thoroughly followed our path. So you know why create more work for you? Just go down the path that's already been laid for you. So why reinvent the wheel? So exactly. I got a strange question for you. What are you talking? What are we talking about roughly pricing on the doses for Narcan? I know that you said that the organization you get to interact with, they take donations. What are we talking about for price per dose on average? We don't we don't sell anarchy in. No, no I know you don't sell it but normally what is it you have to purchase it? So trying to purchase it right. What is your organization have to go through in regard to purchasing it? Like what is the average? So we don't buy it? Right? So as an individual, if I go to a pharmacy without insurance it's I want to say no with insurance it's $125 with insurance Without insurance. There's some pharmacies that will give you the Narcan for $25 without insurance. But those are far and few in between. Um you can go online to I believe and they will send you a coupon. So again it would be $25. Um there are organizations and other websites that you can go to to get free Narcan. Um, Us as as the Evolution Recovery Alliance, we are a contracted distributor through uh the Department of Children and Families for the state of florida. So what that means is we have shown the need for Narcan within our area or our county of Volusia. Um and we were contracted to distribute anarchy into the communities that needed the most. Now we try and target you know different areas but we also um get our information and where we need to host an event from Mike Chitwood and he's the sheriff for Volusia County. Um So we don't pay for anarchy and it comes straight from DCF so we can get it into the hands that needed, who don't have insurance or don't have the money, you know, or even the people who feel like ashamed for, you know, asking for Narcan, you know, you never know. We set up with our our pharmacy, Ben's Pharmacy. Um We did a an event there by his requests. And the people who were getting the Narcan were the people who were picking up their scripts that same day and they were embarrassed to fill the script for Narcan. So they rather you know do it on the slide they and again that goes back to the stigma and that's and that's probably the conversation that we need to have going forward in regards of how do we get the stigma away now if people want to know more about what you're doing and more about your work and they go out to find out more information you can go to uh you can look us up on facebook instagram or our website. We are Volusia Recovery Alliance and the website is Belushi Recovery Alliance dot org and it shows all our events, we do all our community meetings on zoom right now. Um, so that way, you know, we can target outside sources as well. You know, we're always, you know, we always have our hand out. Um, yeah, that's that's pretty much it. We are located in Daytona beach florida and we serve the Volusia County. And I would assume though, that if people want to know more information, they can also go there about other resources that might be available throughout the country by going through your organization as well, correct? Yes, of course. So we have, um, a list of places that provide services such as sober living homes, um, detox mental health services. Um, You name it, we pretty much have it. We are in the process of planning our 3rd annual um, overdose awareness event, which will be in september. Um, so we have a lot going on. We're always looking for volunteers. Also, donations, donations definitely help us keep the doors open and, you know, getting Marky into people who need it, getting people into housing and, you know, start their journey to recovery in a better way of life. So, well, Brittany, I can't tell you how much I appreciate number when you're coming onto the show and number two, what you're doing to help the community in regard to bringing this information forward. And I'm glad that you have actually taken your platform and stood in front of a whole bunch of people and said, hey, let's talk about this and let's not play the blame and shame game, let's bring it out to the general public, which most people wouldn't do. So I appreciate. And I applaud you for doing that awesome. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Well, I would like to thank Brittany smith for coming onto the show today in really having this very important discussion of talking about Narcan, mental health and addiction anyways that she had said you can go to the different website that she had listed Kaloosha County Recovery Alliance dot org. That's Volusia County recovery dot org. Or you can go to I save florida dot com. Now keep in mind that some of these websites are precise or are specific to florida. Don't worry about that because there are some other information that you can look into that takes you to different portions that you can look at it from a national level. For more information about some other things you can go to Narcan dot com as well. And let me tell you about my friends real quick before I let you go because we are talking about the subject of addiction and depression which sometimes does lead to suicidal thoughts. You can go to my friends at the A f sp dot org. That's a f sp dot org to find out more information about what's going on in your local community. That's the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention know that you're not alone. Go to the website to find out more information. Thank you for taking a listen to what we have going on here today on safety. FM. You are the best part of safety Ff. Safety FM is the home of real Safety talk. We'll be back with another episode of the J Allen show before too long. Goodbye or now. The views and opinions expressed

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[00:41:19] spk_0: jay allen. Uh huh.