ROCHESTER, Minn. - The nation's COVID-19 pandemic has made the nation's drug overdose epidemic worse. And now, the nation could soon face another opioid-related issue.
Several clients at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge in Rochester have depended on Narcan to save their life. But the overdose antidote, naloxone or Narcan, is temporarily running out. Pfizer has reported its company has run into production issues and anticipates not getting back to normal until February of next year.
For people like Jonathan, who is a client at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, he's only alive today because of the treatment. He's overdosed 26 times over a five-year span. One time needing 6 shots of Narcan to come back to life.
Jonathan has been in and out of the facility, as well as jail, a few different times now. He said after losing 22 friends to drug overdoses, he knows he can't go down that path anymore. "It's still a constant struggle every day, but I know that when I fight for that faith and I fight to walk that walk, it gets better," explained Jonathan. "The days get brighter, the sun comes out and it's just an all out better day. You know, I wake up every day and I thank God that I'm waking up. I thank that I'm sober and had a sober day. I love the fact that I can call my mom and dad at any time and they answer."
Jonathan said the isolation that was brought on from the pandemic made him relapse several different times. But he's hopeful he won't do it again. "The difference now is now I've become a Christian again and I've got God on my side," he explained. "I've seen the damage that it caused to my family. My mom is still currently going through PTSD from finding me dead."
The executive director at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge said in all of 2020, the facility took in nearly 2,400 clients. So far this year, they've had nearly 2,900 people walk through the doors. He explained they've created a specialized opioid track program designed to help clients who are addicted to a specific drug. There are nearly 355 clients currently in that program.