Former heroin addict thanks fire department for saving his life

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – A man who overdosed while on the job credits first-responders from the Washington Township Fire Department with saving his life, and helping him get clean.

Mark Bracken has been in and out of rehabilitation centers, but it wasn’t until paramedics from the fire department revived him with Narcan that he realized he needed to turn his life, around.

Bracken was addicted to prescription painkillers before turning to heroin

He said his life quickly became unmanageable.

“I spiraled out of control. It didn’t start off that way. It took about a couple years. I started out snorting it and that progressed to using it intravenously,” Bracken said.

“I was homeless. I lived in cars. I lived in abandoned houses. I would steal. Just anything you can possibly think of. It was just an absolute wreck of a life.”

While on the job, last July, Bracken injected heroin in the bathroom.

“I was actually able to put away everything,” he said.

“I walked back and started to work again. Next thing I know I had paramedics hovering over me.”

First-responders from the Washington Township Fire Department administered several doses of Narcan.

Shortly afterward, Bracken went back to rehab and has been sober ever since.

Fire Captain Joel Holbrook called Bracken’s story “inspirational”.

“That is proof positive that you can, it takes a lot of work, a lot of willpower, and dedication,” he said.

“We’re told we make differences, every day, but to actually see that we’ve made a difference. We were the positive influence that make Mark decide to change his life. It’s huge.

“It’s one of the hidden gems of being in the fire and EMS services. That simple thank you.”

Braken said if it wasn’t for the Washington Township Fire Department he wouldn’t be alive, today, able to share his story.

“I know there might be the belief that these addicts don’t care about themselves [so] why should anybody else. I hope I can be an example of a reason to keep trying at this. An addict deserves as many chances as he can get,” Bracken said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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