Man dies at North Lawrence campsite for people experiencing homelessness

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Post updated at 5:25 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31:

A man died Friday at the North Lawrence campsite for people experiencing homelessness. 


Some camp residents who asked not to be named said they thought the man had overdosed.

At least two people tried to perform CPR to resuscitate the man. One of them was a woman who trembled from shock afterward. She said she wished the camp had Narcan — an opioid overdose reversal drug. 

“We need Narcan in here,” she said. “Tell them to send in Narcan. Please.” 

But Jennifer Adams, known as the “camp mom,” said Saturday that some people had tried to help the man with a dose of nasal Narcan, but it was too late.

“We have the nasal stuff, and he would have needed the injectable kind and we didn’t have that at the time,” Adams said.

Adams said she considered the man a close friend, but no one knew he was using.

“Believe me, we are so against (fentanyl). It’s unreal,” Adams said. “I mean, if I had known, he wouldn’t have been staying here. Because that is one thing I will not deal with, and that is those hard drugs.”

Around 11:50 a.m. Friday, someone had called 911 from the camp. Lawrence police officers and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical paramedics responded. The man was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. 

Camp residents said the man was 27 years old.

It was not immediately clear Friday whether the man was a resident of the city-sanctioned support site. Lawrence police said the man died “in the unsanctioned camping area just north of the city support site.”

“We found no evidence of trauma or foul play and are working to make appropriate notifications,” Lawrence police said in a tweet Friday. 

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Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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