EAST PRICE HILL, Ohio (WLWT) – An East Price Hill church known for giving back surprised the community over the weekend.
Holy Family Church held its annual family festival. For the first time, the parish handed out Narcan in an effort to combat the heroin epidemic in the area.
People in the neighborhood had mixed reactions to the church’s new outreach WLWT reports.
“I think it is ridiculous. For one, really? At a festival? For two, they are doing them nothing but a favor so they can overdose again and again and again,” Nicole Bellamo said.
“I think it is good for the people that it can help,” Jerri Grundy said.
Jeremy Bouer, the parish operations manager for Holy Family Church, said just a few months ago, he found a man overdosed in front of his church office.
“I recognized what the issue was, ran outside. At the time, I did not have a Narcan kit in my office,” Bouer said. “The next week, I was down on Warsaw Avenue at Cincy Tool Rental, went out the door and there was someone facedown at the McDonald’s. The next week, I was down at Lower Price Hill and there was a man who was overdosed.”
With the help of the attorney general’s office, the church handed out nearly 70 Narcan kits during the festival.
“All different ages. All different demographics. These are people of all ways of life,” Bouer said.
Grundy said the Holy Parish is doing what it should.
“These people need help from somewhere. If the doctors are not going to help them, maybe it is the church or the Lord can help,” Grundy said.
Bellamo said she doesn’t support the new outreach, but agrees something needs to be done.
“They need to come up with some type of solution to get the heroin off the streets. Period,” Bellamo said.
Bouer said providing the kits is a start to the solution. He wants the church to have them available and have its entire staff trained to use them.
“Not just our police and EMTs. We need to be equipped to respond to lives. This 70 packs of Narcan, that is 70 lives. I can’t wait to hear stories and testimonies of people being saved from the packs that are being served from our festival,” Bouer said.