From the Front Line

From The Front Line

Everyone is talking about the Opioid crisis facing our country today.

And I see how all the fingers are being pointed at “Big Pharma” for
making the drugs so addictive. I’m not saying that there isn’t some
blame to lay there, but what we need now are some pro-active solutions.

The biggest weapon we have on the front line is Narcan, or Naxalone.
This is what counters the effects of any opioid someone takes and
overdoses on. The best way I can describe how this works is if you
imagine your brain like a golf ball with all the little dimples in it.
These dimples are where the drugs settle and when Narcan is administered,
it acts like a big hurricane blowing the drugs out of the dimples and
almost immediately blocks the effects of the drug.

Most addicts are not at all grateful to have their lives saved in this
manner. As a matter of fact, most of them wake up violent and angry that
their drugs have been “wasted!” I see a big push to “educate” the
families of the addicts in the use of Narcan to “save” their loved ones
in case of an overdose. The kits are distributed for “free” to addicts
and their families. It’s a stopgap measure that puts a band-aid on the
problem.

It gives a false sense of security to the family, and the addict, who now
think they can get as high as they want, as often as they want, because
there is always someone around to revive them when they overdose. I have
“narcanned” multiple addicts, multiple times on the same day! We revive
them, they refuse treatment and as soon as we are gone, go back to getting
high again.

I’m tired of hearing that treatment cost too much. The average dose of
Naxalone can run anywhere from $150.00 upwards depending on insurance
and coverage. Not to mention the resources (which usually consists of at
least 1 law enforcement officer, two EMTS and at least 1 Paramedic plus
an ambulance) that are being tied up. The average ALS (advanced life
support) trip to the hospital runs an average of $2000.00 and when the
patient doesn’t pay, guess who does….thats right! The taxpayers.

There needs to be strong oversight. The “frequent flyers” need to be
held accountable. It means educating people to the early signs of
addiction, it means holding the parents accountable and it means
meaningful treatment. We don’t have an endless supply of resources
and they cannot be consistently tied up by the few.

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