‘Addiction Recovery Warrior’ On Mission To Equip Music Scene With Narcan

By Victoria Kim 03/02/18

A punk rocker in recovery has stocked 18 music venues with Narcan in the Detroit area, and plans for more.

close up of singer playing electric guitar and singing on stage over happy fans crowd waving hands at concert in night club

Harm reduction meets Detroit’s music scene. A punk rocker in recovery is equipping Detroit-area music venues with Narcan, a pharmaceutical drug that can reverse opioid overdose.

Scott Boyink’s mission is to make Narcan available “anywhere musicians congregate.” He’s already equipped over a dozen music venues in Detroit and Hamtramck, in time for this year’s Hamtramck Music Fest (March 1-4).

“Since Hamtramck would be flooded soon with festival goers, at least the bars could be a bit more ready for this crisis,” Boyink told the Detroit Metro Times. The three-night music festival will showcase 162 bands who will perform throughout Hamtramck.

Boyink started off by raising money from performing with his band Steve Harvey Oswald. Then he puts together the Narcan kits himself, which include a dose of Narcan attached to a list of instructions that he adapted from naloxone trainings.

“Don’t panic. Don’t leave. You can do this,” it reads. The leaflet walks through the symptoms of opioid overdose, then what to do if the person is unresponsive. “Tell everyone to shut the fuck up, keep calm and clear a path to the door,” it reads. “Call 911 and put phone on speaker.”

Boyink tried to make the kits as comprehensive as possible, he said. “I had to start adapting the messaging to combat the problem. I wanted the kits themselves to be super simple, easy to open, and readable, with no-nonsense instructions,” he told the Metro Times. “I didn’t want people to be fumbling with opening boxes and sheets of instructions.”

In 2016, there were 2,347 drug overdose deaths in Michigan, according to the CDC. The rate of drug overdose deaths in Michigan was 24.4 per 100,000 people—higher than the national rate, 19.8 per 100,000.

Also in 2016, Michigan passed a Good Samaritan Law, which prioritizes saving lives over drug charges. This means that in the event of an overdose, a person seeking medical assistance for the victim is protected from drug possession charges.

Last May, Governor Rick Snyder expanded access to naloxone (Narcan), making it available in pharmacies, without a prescription, to people who are at risk of opioid overdose or their loved ones. Previously, only law enforcement and emergency responders had access to naloxone. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said at the time that it was a “vital step” in reducing opioid-related deaths.

Boyink is determined to change the narrative about punk rock and drug use. “Rock ’n’ roll and punk rock have always had tumultuous give-and-take when it comes to substance abuse,” he said. “The way we describe it in our culture, I mean, look at the songs. ‘Live fast, die young.’ And when people do that, we get upset.”

So far Boyink has stocked 18 music venues with Narcan in Detroit and Hamtramck, including the Painted Lady Lounge, New Dodge Lounge, Outer Limits, and Trixie’s.

Andrea Bonaventura, a manager at the Painted Lady Lounge, said Boyink’s cause hits home. “My best friend overdosed a year ago. I had no idea he was using heroin,” she told the Metro Times. “He died and it completely destroyed me, and continues to every day.”

She continued: “With the Narcan kits, we know now what to look for if someone has fallen out and we know we still need to call EMS. Narcan buys time, but I’m really thankful that we now have that opportunity.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr