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Walgreens to make anti-overdose drug that prevents opioid deaths accessible

Naloxone reverses the effects of a heroin overdose (Nadia Galindo-KEYE-TV)

Right now, Austin Police continue to investigate a string of overdose deaths they believe were caused by the drug fentanyl.

It's a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine and can prove lethal in the smallest of doses.

This, as the nation struggles with a heroin epidemic.

"You fill those holes not with drugs, but with productive things," Vincent said.

KEYE TV interviewed Vincent, who did not want to give his last name, at Any Length sober house in Hyde Park where he has spent the last four months.

It's a place he said he is happy to have found, but never thought he would need.

"I went to college, I joined the military, like I've always worked hard to be, be a good person a successful person," he said.

Mark Kinzly manages the sober house.

"We are in the middle of an opioid epidemic in this country, primarily driven by access to pain medications," Kinzly said.

Vincent said his addiction started with morphine.

"I was injured in the military and got pretty hooked on pain medications," he said.

Like many others addicted to opioid pain medications, the switch to heroin was nearly inevitable.

"Honestly it was cheaper, more effective and highly addictive, and once you go down that road it's hard to turn back," he said.

Kinzly said recovering can take a lifetime, and he knows from personal experience.

"I've struggled with my own personal addiction for over two decades," he said. "I overdosed twice and was given this life-saving medication."

It's one of the biggest reason Kinzly is an advocate with the Texas Overdose Naloxone Initiative.

The organization distributes and provides training to addicts and their loved ones on how to administer naloxone, an opioid reversal drug.

Last year state lawmakers passed a bill to expand the drug's availability, but up until last week a prescription from a doctor was needed.

On Wednesday a Houston doctor wrote a standing order for the medication making it accessible to anyone at Walgreens locations across the state.

Kinzly believes it will be available as soon as early June.

"The only thing it's good for is saving lives, period," he said.

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