Driving through Portland, the countless homeless folk occupying street corners, seeking loose change, are hard to miss. One cannot help but think of what this money might be used for. A sensible conclusion might be that some of these funds end up with local drug dealers. For example, the homeless continue to fuel the addictions that landed them on the streets initially.
However, the addicted homeless are not alone in struggling with substance abuse. Addictions tear apart families and take lives worldwide, regardless of socioeconomic class. Of the substances provoking an immediate concern are opiate drugs, like heroin. The high risk of fatal opiate overdose is demonstrated by reports of emergency medical services responding to such incidents.
Naloxone Use Statistics
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 29,467 fatal opiate overdoses occurred in 2014, a number that is on the rise. Naloxone, a saving grace amidst an epidemic, reverses the symptoms of overdose and saves lives. Despite much research supporting this method of fatal overdose prevention, it is alarming that not all of our first responders train with this tool.
One would think that police officers have this life-saving medication on hand. Often the first to the scene of an overdose, law enforcement regularly encounters a time stringent situation, in the balance of which an individual’s survival rests. So why then, do they not have Naloxone with them?
– Colin Tardif