In the wake of the rising opioid overdose cases, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams recently urged more people in the country to carry naloxone with them. Naloxone is an antidote that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, which claims nearly 115 lives every day. The advisory was issued with the aim of encouraging more people and families to keep a stock of naloxone in their houses.
“It is time to make sure more people have access to this lifesaving medication, because 77 percent of opioid overdose deaths occur outside of a medical setting and more than half occur at home,” said Adams. While police officers and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) often keep naloxone ready with them, the past few years have seen relaxation of rules to allow more people to get access to the life-saving drug.
People overdosing on opioids find it difficult to breathe. Administering naloxone to them can help restore breathing, thus saving lives. Experts stress that naloxone needs to be given quickly, which means that it is necessary to have the drug within reach at all times.
Opioid overdose, a major problem in US
America has been struggling to manage the opioid epidemic, but the results are still not evident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 63,000 Americans succumbed to drug overdoses in 2016 alone. Of these, nearly 66 percent involved overdose deaths involving prescription medications or illicit opioids.
The large number of opioid overdose cases also spurred the sale of naloxone at retail pharmacies across the country. While it is true that naloxone cannot prevent sudden death stemming from opioid addiction, a recent study suggested that the ease of availability of the medicine may lead to rise in number of reckless cases involving opioid use. A research paper, titled “The Moral Hazard of Lifesaving Innovations: Naloxone Access, Opioid Abuse, and Crime,” evaluates the impact of laws that have allowed greater access to naloxone.
Researchers in their paper wrote, “The United States is experiencing an epidemic of opioid abuse. In response, many states have increased access to naloxone, a drug that can save lives when administered during an overdose. However, Naloxone access may unintentionally increase opioid abuse through two channels: (1) saving the lives of active drug users, who survive to continue abusing opioids, and (2) reducing the risk of death per use, thereby making riskier opioid use more appealing. By increasing the number of opioid abusers who need to fund their drug purchases, naloxone access laws may also increase theft.”
Tackling opioid dependence
The addictive effects of prescription opioid painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin cause many people to abuse them. Ironically, government aid and regulations have not done much in reining in the problem. According to the CDC, emergency department visits involving opioid overdoses increased by 30 percent from July 2016 to September 2017 across the country.
Addiction is a disease that not only debilitates the lives of those grappling with the condition, but also impedes the progress of the nation as a whole. Despite new measures being designed and implemented each year, America has not found a permanent solution to its massive opioid epidemic. Fortunately, opioid addiction can be treated with timely medical intervention. Sovereign Health is a leading drug addiction treatment provider in the U.S. If you or your loved one is dependent on any kind of opioid drugs, call our 24/7 helpline number at 855-682-0103 for information about our drug detox centers in California. You can also chat with our online counselor for details regarding our state-of-the-art drug detox clinics in California.