As the country still reels over the loss of veteran actor Philip Seymour Hoffman to an apparent heroin overdose, many are calling for change in the way emergency overdoses are handled. Right around the time Hoffman’s death there were many reports about a spike in heroin overdoses and deaths, especially up and down the east coast. In response to the issue, the White House drug czar R. Gil Kerlikowske has proposed that law enforcement and emergency responders carry a drug that can reverse the effects of heroin overdose.
The Los Angeles Times reports about the proposal and the antidote called naloxone that has proven to be very effective in saving lives of those that have overdosed on heroin. Since law enforcement are usually first on the scene in these situations they can administer the naloxone much earlier and possibly save more lives.
On top of law enforcement carrying naloxone, advocates and Kerlikowske believe prescribing the antidote to known users and the people closest to them can prove beneficial in preventing deaths. Kerlikowske explains, “Co-prescribing to both the person who is going through the disease of addiction and to their relatives and significant others can be very helpful.” He adds, “One of the things we know about naloxone is that it has very few side effects, so that it can be safely administered in many, many settings and to many different individuals.”
Another impediment to getting life-saving medical help in time during an overdose is the fear that people involved may face criminal charges. Kerlikowske is asking that local communities pass “good Samaritan” laws that offer immunity to those that make the emergency call for help.
What do you think about the current proposals to reduce deaths from heroin overdose?
Do you think these measures can save lives?
As a former ER worker, I believe that the only person who should have these medications are the Police, First Responders and The actual Ambulance Technicians. Giving this medication to heroin users are will enable them to try to use more... push the limit. It also allows them to use mental abuse on their family and friends. I realize that heroin is a severe problem but giving the users permission to push the limits to near death (then give me a shot..LOL) is not the way to help.
Naloxone should be carried by first responders so they can administer it early with hope of reversing a drug overdose. I think it is good to protect people who are reporting the overdose. You don't want people afraid to report b/c they fear being brought up on charges.
It would definitely be a good idea for first responders to carry a drug for heroin overdose. Why not? They are in the business to save lives.
I think it is a good idea. It will save live and isn't that what it is all about. I feel that it should be available to those that are going to be the first ones there.