The great Narcan (Naloxone) debate appears to be losing steam as more policies are put into place guaranteeing the administration of the drug during potentially fatal overdoses. Walgreens will release Naloxone over the counter in 30 states during the course of 2016. With the announcement of the pharmaceutical powerhouse, we think it’s long overdue to show the world in doubt what Naloxone can really do.
The fact is, Naloxone saves lives. Every life is precious, and when we have access to remedies which preserve life, we are morally bound to call upon them. Whatever your own opinion as to whether or not we should “empower” substance abusers to prevent overdoses as to continue using thereafter, or revive overdose victims who will hopefully pursue treatment, is irrelevant. Our top priority is to preserve life in the hope of a new future.
Naloxone is in the branch of harm prevention tactics to promote eventual addiction treatment. Often harm prevention gets bad rap for “promoting” drug use- this typically stems from safe needle exchange programs, injection rooms, and treatments similar to Narcan. In each instance the goal of treatment is to help prevent further complications until people with substance use disorders are ready to get help.
Unfortunately, even in instances of compulsory rehabilitation edicts from the court system, those who go to treatment before they are truly committed to recovery relapse shortly after rehab. Harm reduction ensures the safety of both substance abusers and the communities they live in. Safe needle exchange programs ensure users have access to clean needles, and a means of properly disposing used ones- no questions asked. This way bloodborne disease transmissions are diminished, and those suffering from addiction who eventually go to treatment will not complicate their recovery with conditions like hepatitis and HIV.
Instead of attacking Naloxone as a drug enabling overdose, and “encouraging” drug use, consider the statistics of fatal opiate overdoses which could have been prevented; where there is life, there is hope. Without Naloxone, many who now find peace in sobriety would be dead. In “Dying to Be Free” Jason Cherkis gives America a glimpse of the teenagers and young adults who would still be with us today if Naloxone and harm prevention tactics were implemented in their communities.
Don’t take our word for it. Take a look at naloxone in action in these next five videos. Please note, if you are easily upset you may want to skip these, they include illicit drug use and real life overdoses.
Heroin overdose reversed with Naloxone. It isn’t pretty.
If you’d like some backstory on this first video, watch the CNN report:
Injectable Naloxone to the rescue, with commentary and instruction of administration. These particular videos are dark, and shouldn’t be watched for the faint of heart:
Overdose victim talks about being revived with Naloxone and her journey of addiction:
Overdose victims and their rescuers recount their experiences: