Monday, February 20, 2012
Of course we all know that the best way to prevent drug overdose is not to take any illicit drugs or medications that do not belong to us. Yet each day young people die needlessly by taking large quantities of Opioids such as Percocet, Vicoden, and Heroin. Their friends see that the overdose results in respiratory distress and they become frightened. They either leave the struggling friend or they dump them outside an emergency room door.
But time is crucial when it comes to saving someone who has taken too many drugs or has abused someone's prescription medication. When the respiratory system is depressed by too many opioids the person gasps for air. It does not take too long for death to come.
But there is a substance - Naloxone(Narcan) that average people can be trained to administer that will save lives. Naloxone reverses respiratory failure in seconds. In a study in California where a survey of 48 communities who are trained to use NALOXONE responded, there were 10,171 persons saved with NALOXONE.
Rather than opposing methods of harm reduction in favor of strict abstinence, I encourage communities to seek out hospitals and clinics who are willing to train and give access to Naloxone in an effort to reduce deaths by opioid overdose.