Volunteers in San Francisco trained in administering Narcan

Dozens of volunteers turned out to learn how to save someone from a potentially deadly overdose.

Organizers say that sometimes the best first responder is a trained volunteer with the right medication at the right time.

Dozens of volunteers packed into the second story meeting room at the Coalition on Homelessness, ready to learn how to save lives.

Naloxone, sold under the name Narcan, can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes.

Kristen Marshall says it's important to make sure as many people as possible are trained on how to use it.

Marshall explained many drug users would be worried about calling 911 if they see someone overdosing and because sometimes the best first responder is the first person on scene even if that first person is a drug user themself.

"Law enforcement and first responders aren't the answer to this," said Kristen Marshall DOPE Project Manager.

"They're a small piece, but a much larger piece are the drug users and autonomy. When people are given the things they need to survive, are given access to resources, not only do they survive, they thrive."

'Hollywood' works for downtown street scene cleaning San Francisco's streets every day and says he took the class because his job puts him on the front lines of the opioid crisis.

"It's always good to know that I have the training which we been doing anyway. You know what I mean. There's a lot of symptoms of overdoses on the streets."

Brian Edwards from the coalition on homelessness helped organize the training and says he's used Narcan a dozen times to save people who were overdosing.

He says the aim of the class was to get as many people trained and out on the streets to save lives now.

"Just having that tool in your toolkit, you don't have to know the person. It doesn't matter what your opinion is on drug use, you just walk by, you see someone in distress, you've got that tool in your toolbox, and you can save someone's life," said Edwards.

Volunteers who attended the class left with two doses of Narcan, so they could potentially save an overdosing person as soon as they walked out the door.