With the opioid epidemic claiming nearly 78 lives each and every day, President-elect Trump has his work cut out for him in the drug arena. One of his stated policies involves increasing access to naloxone, a medication used to reverse overdose from opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers.
But there are people on both sides of the fence regarding this medication’s prevalence, which has rapidly increased in availability across the country. Let’s look at both point of views:
Spotlight on the Critics
Critics say that it gives drug users a safety net, allowing them to take more risks and push the envelope as they seek higher highs from opiates.
Indeed, many users overdose more than once – some multiple times before learning their lesson. Each time, naloxone brings them back from the brink of death.
Opponents argue that naloxone prevents users from feeling the consequences of their actions; that it does little in helping them turn their lives around and make some much-needed changes. Some even feel that it merely extends them until the next overdose, serving only to further perpetuate the cycle of addiction.
Spotlight on the Advocates
Advocates of the medication beg to differ.
They feel that naloxone gives people a chance to get into treatment, as well as an opportunity to make changes. They also believe that naloxone ultimately saves lives, and that the nation’s death toll from heroin and prescription opioids would be significantly higher without it.
Advocates also point out there’s no evidence indicating naloxone increases the use of opiates, so what’s the harm in using it?
Naloxone users have also weighed in. They believe few drug users knowingly run the risk of overdosing and needing to be revived, since the medication ruins their high and can make them violently ill (which is a deterrent in itself). Naloxone can start to wear off shortly after it is administered and dissipate entirely after 90 minutes, leaving behind an opiate withdrawal that is so brutal, it leaves users “dope sick.”
What’s Your Opinion?
Undoubtedly, increased naloxone accessibility has become a divisive issue. Some users choose to turn their lives around on the second chance this medication gives them, while others continue on with the same destructive thinking and behavior.
In the end, it’s up to you to educate yourself about naloxone and make up your own mind about its true value. But one thing is certain: This medication will continue to play a significant role as long as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage our country.
Additional Reading: 5 Naloxone Myths Debunked
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