Coupled with the fact that naloxone is available without a prescription at CVS pharmacies in 41 states and Washington, D.C., everyone who has someone in their lives struggling with an opioid addiction can be prepared to intervene if tragedy strikes.
And access is working: I joined a special ceremony last week to honor Anthony and 66 other New Yorkers who used naloxone to save a life. In total, the honorees in that room saved 255 lives with naloxone — with one person alone saving an incredible 40 lives.
Changes like these require more than government policy: They begin with open and honest conversations. In New York City, we're working with everyone — parents, children, clinicians, faith leaders, teachers, community service providers — to sustain a citywide conversation about mental health, substance misuse and how we can all be healers.
Like Anthony, any one of us can save a life. But by working together, we can change our culture. We can end the opioid epidemic, and we can prevent future crises, too.
This is no easy task, and it can't happen overnight. But we are making real progress in New York City, and I invite every city and state to join us.
Chirlane McCray is the First Lady of New York City and leads the city's mental health and substance misuse efforts.