By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia Health Department is launching its most exhaustive effort, yet, to try to reduce opioid deaths with the use of the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone.

It’s starting a citywide ad campaign to encourage carrying Naloxone.

Evan Vargas carries Naloxone for his job as a homeless service provider but says he decided to start carrying it outside of work hours.

“That turned out to be a very wise choice,” said Vargas.

Vargas ended up saving a total stranger he encountered on the street. He endorses the city’s message– soon to appear on billboards and social media– that “Saving a life can be this easy.”

Health Commissioner Tom Farley says it will include instructions.

“The picture shows exactly how to do it and how easy it really is. You just spray Naloxone into the nose of someone who’s just had an overdose,” said Farley.

Farley says the city recorded about 1,200 overdose deaths, last year. This is just one part of its strategy to address the epidemic, which he’s called the “greatest health crisis the city has faced in the last century.”


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