Tags: ALLSTATES | ALLTOP | ALLWWCUR | AMFEAT | ASFEAT | BBEXCLUDE | BESTTOP

Heroin-Era Antidotes Can't Handle Overdoses in Age of Synthetics

Image: Heroin-Era Antidotes Can't Handle Overdoses in Age of Synthetics
(Copyright DPC)

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 08:38 AM

In southwest Ohio, people die from drug overdoses at more than double the national rate. In the future, whether someone survives could hinge on what county they’re in.

The sheriff in Butler County this summer declared that his officers wouldn’t carry medication to reverse overdoses. In Middletown, a city of 49,000 that overlaps the county, a council member frustrated by ballooning costs went even further, suggesting ambulance crews shouldn’t have to save the lives of some people who have been revived before.

In neighboring Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, officials are taking the opposite approach. They want to create the Narcan capital of America, putting more than 30,000 doses of the opioid-overdose reversal spray in the hands of Ohioans ready to use it.

That’s about one for every 27 residents. In addition to police, firefighters, and medics who already carry the drug, Hamilton County plans to distribute Narcan to syringe exchanges, houses of worship—and maybe even employers.

People discharged from hospitals or jails after opioid incidents should leave with “Narcan on the belt,” says Tim Ingram, Hamilton County’s health commissioner.

The contrast between these approaches mirrors the national debate over how to deal with a drug crisis that killed 33,000 Americans in 2015, a tally expected to increase. The epidemic began years ago as doctors started to liberally prescribe opioid painkillers such as oxycodone.

As addiction and abuse rose, the medical industry began to tighten access, drivng up street prices. Drug cartels saw an opportunity and flooded U.S. cities with cheap heroin, a common substitute.

Nowadays, heroin is often laced with such potent synthetic drugs as fentanyl or the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil, which can be deadly in minuscule doses. As drug poisonings keep rising, communities have to decide how easy it should be for people who overdose to get life-saving medicines—and at what cost.

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia allow naloxone, the active chemical in Narcan spray, to be obtained without a prescription. Naloxone isn’t addictive and doesn’t induce a high, so it can’t be abused.

President Donald Trump’s opioid commission urged in a July draft report that “Naloxone be in the hands of every law enforcement officer” and suggested doctors also prescribe it in tandem with risky painkillers. Between 1996 and 2014, naloxone dispensed by “laypersons” — including drug users, family members, and other bystanders — reversed at least 26,000 overdoses, the Centers for Diseases Control has reported.

Raising awareness about naloxone has “been a struggle,” says Reilly Glasgow, project manager at the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center in New York City. The nonprofit provides syringe exchange, counseling, and other services to people suffering from addiction. The group hands out free naloxone kits at 800 training sessions each year. “To me, it’s criminal to let this sit on the shelf,” Glasgow says.

Dan Picard, the Middletown, Ohio, council member who proposed limiting naloxone for repeat overdoses, stands on the opposite side of the divide. Picard says drug poisonings in Middletown have dropped since his suggestion made national headlines in June. “Every overdose run costs the city $1,104,” Picard says, adding that Middletown had been on track to spend 10 times the $10,000 it budgeted for Narcan.

“My comments scared people,” he contends. “At some point in life people need to have some personal responsibility.”

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says people can get Narcan at pharmacies or from paramedics, but his officers won’t carry it. “Everything’s being spent on the treatment of the addict,” he says, adding that more money should go to prevention and school programs to discourage drug use, citing the DARE program and the “Just Say No” campaign Nancy Reagan championed. “I’m here on the front lines, and people are fed up with this. I had a guy call me the other day saying, ‘I don’t get free insulin.’”

Last year Butler County recorded 211 fatal drug overdoses, and the death rate is among the highest in Ohio.

Residents, activists, and recovering addicts prepare to march through the streets of Norwalk, Ohio.

Jones says he’s not aware of anyone who died because his officers didn’t have naloxone, and he notes that medics usually arrive at the same time as police. Picard says Middletown does plenty to get people into treatment, including sending response teams the day after overdoses to follow up.

Withholding emergency treatment after an overdose would violate medical ethics, says Andrew Aronsohn, a doctor and faculty member at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Addiction carries a particular stigma, but society rarely questions whether other medical conditions resulting from personal behavior deserve treatment, from a smokers’ lung cancer or a drunk drivers’ injuries after a crash, he says.

“When someone’s dying in front of you, that’s not really our place to judge all of those things as medical providers,” Aronsohn says. “This is pretty egregious to think that you would just deny people care that would save their lives.”

© Copyright 2018 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Health-News
Ralph Battels figured it out when one of his patients woke up and tried to punch him in the face. A single shot of naloxone often really isn't enough to do the trick anymore.Addicts in the Colorado town where he's an emergency room doctor are downing such incredibly...
ALLSTATES, ALLTOP, ALLWWCUR, AMFEAT, ASFEAT, BBEXCLUDE, BESTTOP, BGOVBILLGO, BGOVCODES, BIZNEWS, BNALL, BNCOPY, BNCOPY2, BNSTAFF, BNTEAMS, BONDWIRES, BUSINESS, BZNEWS, CO, CORPGIVE, COS, CPNYCNT3, CT, DC, DEVECO, DRG, DRGPRICE, EDTAMTEAM, EMER, ESG, ESGCONTROV, ESGGOV, ESGRES, ESGSOC, EUFEAT, EXCLUSIVE, EXE, FDA, FINNEWS, FL, G10MEMB, G7MEMB, GEN, GENEVENT, GENHEA, GENTOP, GLOBFEAT, GOV, HCP, HEA, HEACUR, HEACURZ2, HEAGVT, HEATOP, HEATOPZ2, HHS, INDUSTRIES, INTERNAL, LAX, MAJOR, MEDICAL, MENTORING, MISC, MSCINAMER, MSCIWORLD, NORTHAM, NYX, OH, ONWEB, ORIGINAL, PADD1, PADD2, PADD4, PADDIST, POLIRISK, POLNEWS, READ, READ100, READ150, READ25, READ50, SPREGIONS, SRCRANK1, STFILT241, STFILT266, TIMECO, TIMENI, TOP, US, USBNX, USGOV, USHEALTH, USMW, USNE, USSE, USSO, USTOP, USWE, WASHNEWS, WEBELIG, WEBFEATURE, WORLD, WWCUR, WWCURZ6, WWENT, WWTOP, WWTOPAM, WWTOPAS, WWTOPEU, WWTOPFEAT, WWTOPGLOB, WWTOPZ6
824
2017-38-16
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 08:38 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved