By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Another life has been lost from an apparent overdose at the Navigation Center in south Minneapolis. This is the second death at the center since it opened in mid-December.

This most recent death has sparked many who live there to seek treatment.

The smell of smoke fills the air near the Navigation Center as the people who live there came together to build a spirit fire in honor of a life lost.

“I did meet her on a few occasions at the Navigation Center. She was a beautiful woman, she was a mother,” said Stephanie Devich, a licensed alcohol and drug counselor with Valhalla Place.

Devich made a call out to others who can help with assessments to get people into treatment. She calls it the ripple effect.

“Because when something like this happens, people a lot of times get more vulnerable where they actually decide they want some help. So, we are here to try and help them at this point and time,” Devich said.

Devich also passes out free Narcan and teaches people how to use the life-saving drug. She has kept count of the number of people impacted by addiction and the strides this navigation center is making to see those numbers decrease.

“When we were at the tent city – the Hiawatha encampment – they were having an average of six overdoses a day to a tune of over a thousand overdoses and two deaths during the time the encampment was open,” Devich said. “Here at the Navigation Center, being open since mid-December, we’ve had 40 overdose calls, 18 of which were this month.”

Devich and others who have devoted their time here believe this battle against homelessness and addiction can be won.

“I will not give up on anyone, I refuse to because they can do it they just need to believe in themselves, but until they can do that I’ll do it for them,” Devich said.

Devich and others are waiting on toxicology reports to determine if this latest death was an overdose.

Counselors will continue to be on-site all weekend and into next week, helping those who want treatment get help.

Reg Chapman