'My pulse never got over 35': Jacksonville program works to aid opioid addicts

A push is underway in Jacksonville to help people dealing with opioid addiction.

A major push to help locals dealing with opioid addiction is expanding.

“I made it to where I just didn’t care about living anymore,” said Geoffrey Grissinger, who almost stopped living because of opioids.

“My pulse never got over 35,” he said.

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But Grissinger survived -- and is getting a second chance at life.

“They gave me an opportunity to change my life,” said Grissinger.

Grissinger is one of 170 people who have committed to "Project Save Lives," – a program that bring together hospitals, mental health workers and recovery peer specialists who meet overdose patients in the ER.

“There has been a 70 percent reduction in repeated overdoses,” said Dr. Raymond Pomm, Chief medical officer at Gateway Community Services.

Pomm calls the first year of the program a success -- they've had only one opioid-related death this year.

“Which considering the number of deaths we’ve been seeing in the city, two per day, that’s a pretty phenomenal success rate,” Pomm said.

Back in May, Action News Jax traveled to Minneapolis to show you the lab that’s helping local doctors combat the opioid crisis.

Premier Biotech works with Project Save Lives testing samples from people who have overdosed in Jacksonville The information they’ve provided has provided has proven to be essential to know exactly what people are putting into their bodies.

In Jacksonville, more hospitals are reaching out and want to be a part of the program including Memorial and Park West – an area that JFRD said it’s considered as “Ground Zero” for heroin and fentanyl overdoses.

“I just hope for a normal life,” said Grissinger.

For Grissinger, he’s been sober for 34 days, and he wants to keep it that way.

“To me, this is everything to me,” he said.