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Monday, February 17, 2014

Government Encourages More Naloxone Use

Naloxone (2)
Every day people are dying from heroin overdoses that could have been reversed if the drug Narcan (naloxone) were present at the time. At a White House press conference, the Director of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerlikowske, said that heroin overdoses take the lives of 100 people daily. The government has suggested that first responders across the country should carry naloxone.

“Naloxone has very few side effects and can be safely administered in many different settings, so there is some hope for its expanded use,” Kerlikowske said.

In the wake of the success scene in Quincy, MA by police officers carrying the overdose antidote naloxone, officials are encouraging more police forces to carry the drug. Officials cited a pilot program of naloxone in Staten Island, New York; a police officer used naloxone to reverse an overdose in January, CNN reports.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

“Because police are often the first on the scene of an overdose, the Administration strongly encourages local law enforcement agencies to train and equip their personnel with this lifesaving drug. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001,” stated the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in a blog post. “Used in concert with ‘Good Samaritan’ laws, which grant immunity from criminal prosecution to those seeking medical help for someone experiencing an overdose, it can and will save lives.”

Heroin is not the only concern; there has been a 20 percent rise in prescription drug overdose deaths since 2006. In an effort to save money, many prescription drug users turn to heroin as a less expensive more effective source. “Heroin is cheaper than prescription drugs and they make the switch for economic reasons,” according to Dr. Wilson Compton of ONDCP.
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