01:45 - Source: CNN
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70 kits of opioid overdose antidote were handed out at Holy Family Church's festival

Neighbors are divided in their opinions, however

CNN  — 

A few months ago, Jeremy Bouer says, he found an overdose victim in front of his church in Cincinnati. A week later, he encountered another at a nearby McDonald’s. Then another in his neighborhood.

That’s when Bouer took action.

Bouer works at Holy Family Church, and during its annual family festival over the weekend, the parish handed out Narcan kits to the congregation.

Working with the state attorney general’s office, the church distributed 70 kits of the opioid overdose antidote.

“This 70 packs of Narcan, that is 70 lives,” Bouer told CNN affiliate WLWT. “I can’t wait to hear stories and testimonies of people being saved from the packs that are being served from our festival.”

Overdose-related deaths have been on the rise all over the nation. And Ohio’s been particularly hard-hit.

Dealers have been cutting heroin with the synthetic fentanyl to give it a boost and stretch their supply or give a bigger kick, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin. Just a quarter of a milligram can kill someone.

Narcan counteracts the effects of opioids and can reverse an overdose. It’s been used by hospitals and emergency responders for years, and there are efforts to expand access across the country. But some say it’s not a permanent solution.

“I think it is ridiculous,” Nicole Bellamo, a neighborhood resident, told WLWT about the church’s effort. “For one, really? At a festival? For two, they are doing them nothing but a favor so they can overdose again and again and again.”

Another resident, Jerri Grundy, said she’s happy to see the church giving back in new ways.

“These people need help from somewhere,” she said. “If the doctors are not going to help them, maybe it is the church or the Lord can help.”