We interrupt this pandemic with a dose of good news
Two lives saved this week with naloxone – Yeah, Ashlee!
Ashlee Schleter of Tiffin in Seneca County, Ohio, is one of our state’s great layperson distributors of naloxone, the drug that reverses opioid overdoses. She sent this Facebook message to us a few minutes ago — two overdose reversals this week with Narcan–and brought us a burst of joy during the covid-19 pandemic.
The Narcan that saved two lives moved from the Ohio Department of Health to Harm Reduction Ohio to Ashlee to the community of people who use drugs in rural Ohio. This supply chain of Narcan is, literally, the Circle of Life.
Ashlee shows why laypersons — especially peers — are the naloxone distributors most likely to save lives. Ashlee is alive today because she had an overdose reversed. Her boyfriend, also an active heroin user, used Narcan to save Ashlee’s life in her bedroom of her family home.
Today, Ashlee is a hometown human rights activist, fighting for the lives and well-being of people who use drugs in her northwestern Ohio county of 57,000. Ashlee calls herself a “Hope Dealer.” She is trusted and respected in her area’s criminalized, stigmatized community of people who use drugs. She helps people who may be struggling make positive changes in their lives, one step at a time, with love and support and, if needed, buprenorphine or methadone.
In these difficult times of the covid-19 disease, let us salute a Ashlee Schleter, 28, of Tiffin, Ohio. She’s one of our state’s unsung heroes. She relapsed just seven months ago, as so many opioid users do, but never gave up on herself, just as she doesn’t give up on others when they struggle.
Ashlee helped save a couple lives this week. That’s an amazing accomplishment, is it not? She’s not an EMT or a firefighter, after all. And it’s not the first time she’s done so.
So the next time you see a cashier behind the counter at a convenience store, imagine her as a superhero. Imagine her as someone who cares for the most vulnerable after she’s off the job. Imagine her as Ashlee really is, working an everyday job at Mickey Mart, carrying Narcan in her purse and ready for another chance to save a life that — screw what others might think — is worth saving.