KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Fueled by cookies and mini-sized plastic water bottles, 40 people gathered in an elementary school gym Monday night to learn how to bring addicts back to life.
It was a neighborhood education program, taught by the Metro Drug Coalition, aimed at getting more Narcan--the opioid-overdose reversing drug--into the South Knoxville community, an area which has seen an increase in need.
The drug comes in a small box, but can have a big impact--one Cheryl Sutton knows well.
"They would’ve died. Because the Narcan is the only thing that brought them back," she said. Her son and daughter in law overdosed in a car last May. "It's terrifying you know. You could've lost your child. This could've been the end."
Monday night she got nasal spray to keep with her just in case. Neighborhood leaders here encourage it.
RELATED: OD Epidemic Coverage
"That affects our businesses, it affects our neighborhoods and we just want to offer this to the residents of South Knoxville and say here's something you can do," Elizabeth Sherrod, with the South Knoxville Alliance, said.
South Knoxville saw a 61 percent increase in naloxone deployments last year.
In three hot spots, first responders had to use Narcan more than 60 times.
"I was discouraged for South Knoxville. I didn't realize it was as bad," Sherrod said.
Now, they're training to save even more lives in the opioid epidemic. Though they know this isn't going to fix the problem.
"This isn't going to be the ultimate solution to addiction in our community, but we don't want people to die because of mistakes that they make," Katie Linley with the Metro Drug Coalition said.
For Sutton's family it was a second chance for her son to get help.
"Bringing him back he had the chance to get better and get into recovery and rehab," she said. "You never know who you're going to save. You could be in a Walmart parking lot you could be anywhere. and see somebody passed out and they might not have time to wait for an EMT to get there."