A report out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that some 10,000 drug overdoses have been reversed by the drug Naloxone.
Naloxone is a generic drug, also known as Narcan, that is amazingly effective at reversing opoid overdoses. It is commonly called the Lazarus drug for it’s ability to raise the dead.
Some communities have made this drug available to Needle Exchange programs and other harm reduction groups, who can then train users in how to use it in an emergency, after calling 911, and distribute it free of charge.
But sadly, many communities, and many states, refuse to allow this simple lifesaving step, and many more refuse to put any funding to it. Despite the fact that the kits cost $20 or less, and the cost to the government in dealing with an overdose death can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
And let’s not forget- many heroin overdoses are a result of unknown purity, and due to prohibition and various government regulations, there is no way for users to test the purity. The US saw a huge upsurge in overdoses the year after the war in Afghanistan started, when the heroin supply, and it’s purity, surged to record levels.
Yes, these users have made bad choices. But does that make them less worthy of our compassion? Do we really sit by and do nothing, when there are these simple steps we can take to minimize the damage?
In a country where we give billions in taxpayer dollars to corporations to bail them out of messes of their own creation, can we not spare a little love, sympathy, and dollars, for the most forgotten among us?
The report can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm6106.pdf