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Woman battling opioid epidemic expands, says her work help saved a life in Buffalo

Donyenn Stewart picked up a box of Narcan at her local corner store, 5 months later, used it to save a life
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 07:13:22-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we've kept our eyes on the opioid epidemic. As numbers continue to rise, there’s a local organization working to reverse this trend.

“We have been continuing our work in the streets, we pop out we give services, we give training," said Rashone Scott-Williams, Founder of Mobile Overdose Prevention Services or Mobile OPS.

In Erie County, opioid related deaths were on the decline prior to COVID-19, but last year, they jumped sharply. Through July 15th of this year, the trend is the same, 86 people have died due to opioids.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Taylor Epps first introduced you to mobile OPS back in April, showing you the woman battling the opioid epidemic from her car.

Rashone Scott-Williams rides around Buffalo's Riverside Neighborhood, battling the opioid epidemic
Rashone Scott-Williams rides around Buffalo's Riverside Neighborhood, battling the opioid epidemic

Well she’s still going—and the work she’s doing is saving lives.

"It was amazing to know that I am the reason that a person that was almost gone is still here today,” said Donyenn Stewart.

Back in june, Stewart woke up to a phone call from her neighbor—it was an emergency.

"When I got there the person was blue. He was turning blue," said Stewart.

Her neighbor told her this was an overdose—so she brought a box of Narcan with her down to Briggs Avenue in Buffalo’s Riverside neighborhood.

Donyenn Stewart picked up a box of Narcan at her local corner store, 5 months later, used it to save a life
Donyenn Stewart picked up a box of Narcan at her local corner store, 5 months later, used it to save a life

“[I] administered one dose, waited 2-3 minutes later, administered another dose, called 911 and we were able to save the young man’s life," said Stewart.

Stewart had never done this before, she says she picked up a box of Narcan in her local corner store six months ago, put there by Scott-Williams.

"It was the mobile ops sticker on there and I called her. I only had one because I used it on the guy I saved, so I had to get more," said Stewart.

Scott-williams says stories like that, push her to keep going every day.

When we last checked in with her she was doing all this work from her car, as of Monday, Scott-Williams now has the keys to the first Mobile OPS office at the James A. Dockery Community Center on Sycamore Street.

Rashone Scott-Williams says her services helped save a life
Rashone Scott-Williams says her services helped save a life

"We’re excited to be in this space so we can build up this community and educate this community on opioid overdose prevention,” said Scott-Williams.

Here, she’ll be working together with Memorial Temple Christian Ministries, continuing her efforts to teach people how to use Narcan.

"We can send you a kit, we can come on your block and do a training, because that’s why we’re mobile," said Scott-Williams.

While Mobile OPS deals with these people from a physical standpoint, the church hopes to deal with them from a spiritual standpoint.

Scott-Williams and her team now have a home on Sycamore Street
Scott-Williams and her team now have a home on Sycamore Street

As she expands, Scott-Williams says the one thing she needs is financial support.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to continue without funding, because everything we do is free," said Scott-Williams.

She says that’s the only way she can save more lives.

If you want to support Mobile OPS, they’re accepting donations, click here.
You can find the link to help out on our website at wkbw dot com..

And if you want Narcan training—all you have to do is send an email and they’ll meet you anytime, any place. Just contact:
wnymobileops@gmail.com.