Life-saving drug reverses the effects of prescription drug overdoses

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NORMAN, Okla. - It was a sudden death that stunned nearly every OU fan.

Back in 2011, OU linebacker Austin Box died of an accidental drug overdose less than a week after his college graduation.

Now, there's a new plan of action that could possibly save lives in an overdose situation.

Austin's mother was with law enforcement officers Friday morning as they learned about the new program.

"I know that it's something that people hide because of the stigma. I know that Austin would've been deeply ashamed," Gail Box, the mother of Austin Box, said.

A family's tragedy is now a platform to help others.

“We have a terrible problem in our state with prescription drug overdoses and deaths from prescription drugs," Box said.

Oklahoma ranks fifth in the nation for drug overdose deaths.

Experts say that's why the drug Naloxone could be so important.

It's been proven to reverse the effects of potentially fatal pain medication.

“It will enter the blood stream and erase the effects of any opiate-based drug like morphine, codeine, your fentanyl drugs, things like that," Anthony First, a trainer for the police force and paramedics, said.

No needle is required.

"When an officer believes that someone is in a life-threatening condition or barely breathing or not breathing, this is simply sprayed at the nose, just like Afrin," First said.

The Tulsa Police Department started using it a year ago and has already saved 15 lives.

Now, several Pottawatomie County law enforcement officers are coming together to do the same.

"A little bit of training and the willingness to do it is all it takes," First said.

It is something Gail Box wishes was around for her son.

"I don't know if it would've made a difference to Austin, but I know that first responders were not carrying the drug during that time, and I do believe that the police were the first ones there," Box said.

 A mother now left to wonder if this drug could have saved her son from the painkillers that took his life.

“And that's what they were for Austin, they were poison,” Box said.

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