‘Angel of West Palm Beach’ saves lives amid Florida’s opioid crisis – NBC 6 South Florida

One local’s quick action is having a dramatic impact on the growing opioid crisis.

Meet Chris Chodkowski, a primary trauma addiction therapist at Recovery Unplugged, referred to by many as the “Angel of West Palm Beach.”

Amid the opioid crisis in America, Chodkowski has saved 19 lives since July 2022.

“We can start doing this in the United States,” Chodkowski says. “We have an opiate death – one every five minutes.”

In each case, Chodkowski is the first responder, administering life-saving naloxone to reverse the overdose and revive the victim.

While he has used Narcan – which is available in many stores this week without the need for a prescription – he says he has had unique success with Zimhi, a 5 mg naloxone injection, because of its speed and never one second dose needed.

“When I use Narcan for opiate overdoses,” Chodkowski said. “Because it’s a nasal spray, people often aspirate but don’t breathe, and if I take the 4 mg nasal spray, they’re probably just breathing.” I get 2 mg of it.

When Chodkowski says he switched to the injectable Zimhi, which contains the highest naloxone dose of 5 mg, patients get it into their system “within 25 to 30 seconds with complete reversal.”

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, can kill within minutes. Chodkowski emphasizes that every second counts.

That’s why he believes Zimhi should be in every first responder’s backpack.

In the meantime, he says bringing Narcan to market is a big step in the right direction.

“Seconds matter here in a person’s life. Having these products so easily available can save lives,” says Chodkowski.


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