NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Inside Calvary Chapel Worship Center in New Port Richey, you can hear the sound of boxes opening up echos in a worship room.
- Rachel Starostin giving away 1,400 Narcan doses
- She is a recovering opioid, meth addict; wants to help those struggling
- Contact her at 727-255-2036 or click here
- More Pasco County headlines
Rachel Starostin opens box after box, pulling out Narcan and begins stacking orderly on a table. Narcan is a nasal spray that can help stop an overdose. She plans to give all 1,400 doses away for free.
"Usually the people who need it the most don't have those means. And so we need to equip them with the capabilities of having it, until they are ready for recovery," said Starostin.
She is a recovering opioid and meth addict herself. She's been clean now for over three years. Two weeks ago, she sat front and center at a DEA 360 Strategy event in Pasco County.
The 360 Strategy outreach was launched in the Tampa Bay area by the DEA this year to combat the growing opioid epidemic. The goal is to educate, inform and inspire community members to help tackle the opioid epidemic in their own communities.
"Unfortunately in 2019, we are tracking to have a record year and that is not a good thing. That is a terrible thing, we have seen our overdoses and our overdose deaths skyrocket," said Capt. Mike Jenkins of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
The Narcan giveaway is just one way she is giving back. She works with Recovery Epicenter and is planning more events in the future.
"I remember what it felt like to be hopeless," said Starostin. "Tonight if one person leaves here with some hope, for a better future or that there is a better for them, than I will feel like we did our job as a community.”
She won't be alone at the church. She invited several other community members to provide resources too. There is even a panel discussion to help people better understand Narcan, how it works, and how to use it.
The choice to be inside Calvary Chapel was not a coincidence either.
"This event tonight is at a church where I spent my time in the beginning of my recovery. I had no where to go really, no one who would talk to me really. So I would go in the morning for my therapy and then I would come just work at the church all day," said Starostin.
It's her way to undo some of the bad she created by being a dealer and a drug user years ago.
Starostin was able to get the large amount of Narcan through a DCF grant. Anyone who needs Narcan but couldn't make it out she said she will make sure they get it, no questions asked.
She can be reached at 727-255-2036 or go to Recovery Epicenter's website.