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Anchor House Does Lifesaving Work

At Anchor House, we believe that our agency is doing lifesaving work through our programming that is keeping youth safe and off the streets. For example, our Safe Housing initiatives not only provide youth with a roof over their head, but also protect them from abuse and neglect they might be facing at home, or, from becoming a victim of trafficking or of a crime while experiencing homelessness.

Anchor House is recognizing Mary Smith, a staff member in our Anchor Line Program, one of our Safe Housing Initiatives. Mary recently saved a life, thanks to her quick action in using Narcan, a medicine that helps people overdosing on an opioid. Mary and other Anchor House staff received Narcan training which provided them with information on how to recognize an opioid overdose, administer Narcan, and care for the individual until emergency services arrive.

Mary’s Story

Mary joined the Anchor House team in October 2022, and she, along with other Anchor House program staff, have all benefitted from taking the Narcan training, which is needed now more than ever.

One day, as Mary was parking her car, ready to go to work, one of her residents ran over to her and asked “Mary, do you have Narcan?” Narcan is the most popular brand of Naloxone, a medication designed to reverse opioid overdose rapidly.

A man at a store adjacent to Anchor Line was unresponsive, despite a woman’s efforts to do CPR. Mary was carrying the Narcan kit she received upon conclusion of recent Narcan training and rushed over to the store to assist.  

First, Mary followed the protocols she learned in training, asking the man if he was ok, but he remained unresponsive. She then tried administering Narcan, putting the spray to his nose, but it initially did not work. She tried again, and the man opened his eyes. Soon after, the ambulance arrived. Mary downplays the whole experience, saying she played a small part. However, she is reminded that if she was not there at that moment to administer the Narcan, it may be a story with a tragic ending.

The number of suspected opioid deaths in Mercer County has nearly tripled in recent years, according to the Rutgers School of Social Work. One factor contributing to the increase of Mercer County area youth living on the streets is substance abuse, particularly opioids.

Research shows that up to 86% of youth who are homeless meet the criteria for a substance use disorder, and that youth who are homeless with substance abuse issues are more vulnerable to long-term substance abuse and untreated co-occurring disorders that follow them into adulthood.

It is also why Anchor House employs a Substance Abuse Prevention Counselor that can provide our youth with services through individual sessions and education. The Counselor meets with youth weekly to evaluate and provide ongoing services to address their substance use and awareness.

We applaud Mary for her quick action and saving this man’s life, as well as for the lifesaving work that she and our staff do on a daily basis.

You too can help save a life from carrying Narcan. Learn more here.