Opioid Reversals Remain Underreported, say Public Health Experts (WYPR)

Karen Holliday says she has something in common with Billie Holiday, Baltimore’s famous jazz singer who died in July 1959 from illness related to drug and alcohol abuse, beside the last name.

“Drugs have always been in this family of mine,” says Holliday. “I was the person who slept right there in the park across the street from the War Memorial. I was also a person that used there.”

Just two years ago, Karen Holliday almost died from an opioid overdose. She remembers waking up in Sinai Hospital alone.

“When I woke up I had a band on my arm that said unknown person,” says Holliday. It’s still a struggle every day. It is because I deal with this every day. I deal with addiction every single day.”

As she works through her own addiction, Holliday says she’s reaching out to others.

In 2017, the Baltimore City Health Department reported that more than 700 lives were lost to opioid overdoses while 979 lives were saved by using Naloxone—more commonly called narcan—to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

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