Louisville Magazine

AUG 2016

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/706605

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Page 38 of 140

36 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 8.16 A BIT DEEPER But participants run the socioeconomic spectrum, from sweet-voiced, short-shorts- wearing college-aged kids to homeless men and women to bartenders to one well- dressed businessman who opens up to La Rocco. He's scared — his business, his kids. "No one knows I'm fucking doing this," he says, repeatedly. ere's been loss in his life, divorce. La Rocco offers him options, hands him his card. "Pain shared is pain lessened, man," La Rocco says. en, the hug. La Rocco's job demands listening. Investigating too. "Can I see your arms?" he says to a young girl who has already been to the hospital for an infection. She picks at a ladybug-sized scar. "If you're developing tracks, you're going to build up scar tissue. If you develop scar tissue, you're going to bend the needle. If you use that needle, you're going to end up blowing out a vein," he begins, reciting a tutorial on proper ways to shoot up. Some might watch and scoff: Enabling! To which La Rocco would say: "She's going to get high anyway. Her arms were horrible." Reacting, that's a big part of his work. Last Friday a regular tore into the van: "Narcan! Please tell me you have Narcan!" (Narcan — aka naloxone — is a drug that helps reverse overdoses.) La Rocco grabbed his naloxone kit and ran about a block down the street toward a well-known dope house. He helped save the guy who had stopped breathing, right there on the sidewalk. La Rocco is still a bit shaken. As much compassion as he has, sometimes he just wants to scream — all your problems would disappear if you stopped using drugs! But addiction is messy. It's brain chemistry gone awry. It's compulsive behavior despite awful outcomes. In the last several months, overdoses have increased. La Rocco says users are often buying heroin that's been cut with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid similar to morphine. In the first half of 2016, LMPD investigated 121 accidental overdose deaths and administered 404 doses of Narcan to 275 individuals. at's up from 67 overdose investigations and one LMPD-administered Narcan dose in the first half of 2015. La Rocco advises clients to mash up their drug and take a small test hit before shooting up. When clients walk in today, a whiteboard advertising a free naloxone class greets them. It's now 6 p.m. Closing time. ree people wait to be seen, having slid in before the cutoff. Today's total: 54 clients, 40 of whom are return visitors. It's a busy but typical ursday. At 6:02, a sweaty man with a mustache and dark eyes opens the door. "Closed, man," La Rocco says. e man begs. Nope. "I'm going out of town," he says. "You can come tomorrow at 11 in the morning," La Rocco responds. e man storms off, slamming the van door. Later, he'll apologize for "being such an ass." "He wasn't rude," La Rocco says. "Just desperate." mcclaindewees.com

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