Whidbey man urges first responders to carry Naloxone after brother's overdose

Eric Wilkinson reports.

They're the family that sat down to dinner together every single night. The one with a mom who is a nurse who talked to her kids about the dangers of drugs.

It makes what happened to them all the more devastating.

"There's not a second of the day that I don't think about Dylan and what it's done to our family. It's heart shattering," said Colleen Keefe.

Dylan Keefe Rayner was just one month shy of his 25th birthday when he accidentally overdosed on opiates in California. His family believes he got addicted to painkillers after an emergency surgery on his throat eight years ago. Few knew how bad the situation had gotten until Dylan went to rehab this past spring. He appeared to be doing well until the phone call came one sunny day in June.

"It was just immediate shock," said Dylan's younger brother, Riley. "I had to sit on the ground. I couldn't breathe. "

In the months following his brother's death, Riley learned about the drug Naloxone, also called Narcan. It's a nasal spray that reverses the effects of an overdose, literally bringing people back from the dead. It's simple and relatively cheap at about $100 for a 2-pack. Most first responders in the family's Island County community, however, don't carry it.  So, Riley started a change.org petition urging them to do so.

"It just seemed that something as simple as a nasal spray, why wouldn't you carry it? It has no negative effects. It can only save somebody from an overdose," said Riley.

Riley and his family are asking people to properly dispose of old prescription painkillers in their medicine chests, and urging them to start looking at addiction as the clinical illness it truly is.

47,000 Americans died from opiate overdoses in 2014 alone. In response, many first responders in Washington have started carrying Naloxone, but many more have not.

After being touched by heroin this year, the small Island County city of Langley outfitted its four-person police force with Naloxone. Island County sheriff and fire officials are now considering it as well.

To Riley, that means hope for Island County, thanks to one more family that never thought it would happen to them.

Copyright 2016 KING


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