LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Luis Garcia is not a recovering addict. He isn’t related to anyone who suffers from addiction, and he doesn’t have a friend who died from an overdose.
However, Luis Garcia is a retired firefighter. He is a person who would rather see someone, anyone, live than die. It’s why he set out on a mission to give away Narcan to people in cities that need it most.
“This is simply about being a good person or not being a good person,” he told WHAS11 News on Wednesday.
He led a two-hour class at the Judicial Center in Downtown Louisville, educating people on Narcan, an antidote that overturns overdoses. Each participant takes home a free Narcan nasal spray.
“Spray them and you have a much better chance of saving them,” he explained.
Garcia is from Florida but has spent the last month traveling across the country hoping to save a few lives with a lesson on Narcan.
“You will bring back 91% of victims,” he told the class.
The journey has connected him with recovering addicts like Alesha Graves.
“I just felt in my heart that I really wanted to be involved in this,” the Tennessee native told WHAS11 News.
She heard about his efforts on Facebook and was drawn to his passion. The two connected and have traveled from Frankfort to Louisville and Bardstown in one day. They’ve hosted 72 classes so far and handed out 1,600 dosages of Narcan.
“Addiction is everywhere. It doesn't discriminate. You can be walking on the road and see someone overdose. So if you have the Narcan on you, you can save their life,” she said.
It started as a generous gesture that turned into something much greater.
“Originally, I bought 800 dosages out of my pocket, I really did,” Garcia said.
He ultimately raised $40,000 through a GoFundMe account, which supports the supply he has now.
Garcia said the real reward comes from stories of survival from those he’s informed along the way.
“Most of the time, they're telling me they're helping a perfect stranger just like I begged them to do,” he explained.
The classes are free and if you use the Narcan given to you, he will send you another one at no cost.
Garcia and his crew will be in Nicholasville and Paris, Kentucky on Thursday.
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