Less than two weeks ago, photos of an Ohio couple in the throes of a heroin overdose went viral, putting an unavoidably human face on the American opioid and heroin epidemic. The photo showed the couple unconscious slumped over in their seats, drugs and paraphernalia nearby, while the four-year-old in their care sat in the backseat, perfectly conscious and alert. While the decision to display the photos met with widespread controversy, Liverpool, Ohio law enforcement insisted that the public should see what they encounter on a daily basis in an effort to bring further attention and resources to the problem. Regardless of where one may come down on their publication of the photos, they did ignite vigorous conversation and attention. Yesterday, a heartbreaking and raw video, which has also gone viral, seemed to pick up right where these photos left off, this time about 720 miles away in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
By Carla Dillon
Up until now we have discussed the miracle ingredient in Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT)-Naloxone. One of the more common uses is in the form of Narcan. There has been much debate on the availability and allowance of families and loved one to be able to obtain and have on hand Narcan in a case of suspected overdose of a loved one. Similarly to someone carrying an “Epi” pen for severe allergic reactions.
On the other side of that coin there are many statesman and legislators that do not feel that an addict’s family should be allowed to legally have Narcan (Naloxone) in their possession. This is causing much upset in communities with a high rate of mortalities due to overdoses. Should Narcan only be administered by medical professionals? The argument holds that in the time an ambulance and EMT/EMS workers arrive a parent or loved one can preemptively administer Narcan themselves. Once administered they can potentially not only save a person that has overdosed but every minute that passes without treatment causes further brain and physical damage to a person that could be prevented if Narcan is or was available in the home. Many of us have had to call 911 in an emergency, how long has it taken them to arrive in your personal cases? The argument against Narcan being legally available is in one case that some believe it would give the addict less fear of overdose and allow them to continue to use without fear of death. There was also an argument raised in a meeting with the FDA by a representative from the American Society of Anesthesiologists — that argued a physician’s direction is needed when using the drug. This meeting was called to decide on whether to make Naloxone (Narcan) available without a prescription.