“Jolt Foundation was established by Blake and Tamara Olt after the death of their son Joshua Olt from an accidental heroin overdose.”
On April 29th 2012 our 16 year-old son, Joshua, died from a heroin overdose. We did not know he was using this drug or any drugs. We had no chance to help our son. There were no rehab admissions. No therapy. No long nights wondering if he was ok. He used for a short period of time and he died. Josh was a regular kid. He had lots of friends. He loved to laugh and joke around. His smile could light up a room. He was just one of those people you wanted to be around. Why did he experiment with drugs? We don’t know. He knew the potential dangers but did them anyway. I guess he thought he was invincible as most 16 year-old boys do and just wanted to have fun. Through the fog of grief and pain, all we could think of is why. Why didn’t we know our son had a problem, why didn’t people that knew he was using tell us, why didn’t Josh turn to us for help? Within 24 hours of our son’s death I was online doing research trying to discover how this could have happened to us. What I found was shocking, I learned that heroin use and heroin and other opiate related overdoses were occurring at record rates. Every 19 minutes someone dies from a drug overdose in the United States. In Illinois drug overdoses are more common than car accidents as a cause of accidental deaths. I’m a parent of teenagers and a physician and did not know the scope of the problem.
I vowed to my self and to my son that I would not let his death be in vain. In looking for a way that I could make a difference, I discovered harm reduction, specifically overdose prevention. So, what exactly is harm reduction? Harm reduction involves programs and policies that aim to reduce the risk associated with drug use. Harm reduction acknowledges that despite our best efforts people will continue to use drugs because they are unwilling or unable to stop. People who support harm reduction believe that human rights apply to everyone. People who use drugs do not forfeit their human rights. We believe that good healthcare and safe drug practices should be available. And that the focus should be on low cost – high impact interventions. One such intervention is overdose prevention.
Naloxone has been used for years in the hospital and by emergency medical personnel to reverse opiate overdoses. It acts by pushing opiates off of opiate receptors. It has no other effect than that – it does not get you high, in fact it does the opposite since it pushes the opiates away. Opiate receptors int he brain control breathing and when an overdose occurs breathing stops – when naloxone is given it pushes opiates off the recptors that control breathing and the person begins breathing again on their own. Naloxone only works for opiate overdose but it will not hurt if it is given to someone who is suffering from a different type of overdose. It just won’t help. Laws have been passed in Illinois and several other states which allow providers to distribute naloxone to friends and family members of those at risk of overdose as well as to the opiate user without fear of medical liability. There are currently people working tirelessly throughout the country to get these laws passed in every state.
Naloxone Distribution Program
Dr. Tamara Olt is the prescribing physician on behalf of the JOLT Foundation. Training and distribution of naloxone is provided free of charge in a private and confidential setting at Dr. Olt’s Peoria Women’s Health practice. MEN & WOMEN WELCOME! Overdose prevention services are available to all current and past opiate users as well as their family and friends.