How a Bay Area mom is turning grief into action by distributing Narcan in San Francisco

Tara Campbell Image
Monday, August 28, 2023
How a mom is turning grief into action distributing Narcan in SF
Michelle Leopold and her husband, who lost their 18-year-old son to fentanyl overdose, are helping train people to use naloxone, as well as giving it away.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area mom's grief and determination is leading the way helping combat the drug overdose crisis.

"There are two doses in each box," explained Michelle Leopold as she opened a box of Narcan in front a roughly a dozen people Sunday outside her hardware store in San Francisco's Laurel Heights neighborhood.

Naloxone spray, best known by the name brand Narcan, can reverse a fentanyl overdose. Leopold's goal is to get the life-saving drug into as many hands as possible.

VIDEO: Marin Co. mom on mission to save lives after her son died from fentanyl overdose

A Bay Area mom is on a mission to educate others about the dangers of fentanyl and teaching how Narcan can help prevent overdose deaths.

"This is very personal. This is how I'm trying to find some purpose in my pain," Leopold said. "My forever 18-year-old son Trevor died from one fentanyl-laced pill in his dorm room at Sonoma State in November of 2019."

It was at that moment Leopold decided she would get loud and started raising awareness of the powerful opioid.

"I was screaming into the void for the first year and people didn't think it would ever affect them," she said. "And now so many people have heard of a loved one who has died from fentanyl."

Leopold and her husband own a handful of hardware stores in the Bay Area and are teaming up with local health departments to help train people to use naloxone, as well as giving it away.

MORE: Santa Clara Co. launches opioid overdose prevention, naloxone training at libraries

"I think the more that we partner with community groups and community members like Michelle, we can have a further reach," said Eileen Loughran, with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

San Francisco is staring down its deadliest year yet amid the overdose crisis. In the first seven months more than 470 people have died of a drug overdose - the majority from fentanyl.

"This is impacting all of us. Everyone knows someone or a connection of someone who has lost a life," Loughran said. "And so I think anyone here that went through this training can now save a life and that's what's most key."

MORE: 385 died of fentanyl overdose in SF this year; could set record, health officials say

"I go to a lot of music festivals. I have a lot of friends that, you know, party," said Joshua Reither, who was at the training session Sunday. "I felt like it would be responsible for me to have some of this in the household."

Meanwhile, Leopold holds the memory of her son close.

"Trevor, I believe, is helping me every step of the way," she said. "That beautiful bouquet of purple flowers that's on the table today. I'm going to take to his grave site to thank him after we're done today."

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If you missed Sunday's naloxone training event there are plenty of options out there still. Leopold is hosting events at their Laurel Ace Hardware store in Oakland on Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. And on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. at Marin Ace in San Raphael.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health wants you to know naloxone training and free pickup is available at their pharmacy at 1080 Howard Street.

They are also encouraging anyone interested in setting up group training to email them at

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