The Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, had some interesting advice last month for the United States citizens regarding the opioid crisis. He gave pertinent statistics of persons that overdose from opiates. Adams stated, “ Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose – that’s one person every 12.5 minutes.” With this alarming statistic, Adams felt like he needed to issue what is called a public health advisory. Advisories are tools that are reserved for issues that are a pressing concern to the public. The last one that had been announced was in 2005 to warn women about the repercussions that could materialize if they were to drink alcohol when they were pregnant.
The newest public health advisory encourages people to carry Naloxone to help someone that could be potentially overdosing on an opioid. Since first responders and medical professionals always have Naloxone with them, having others in the community to also keep the overdose reversing medication on hand could spare more lives that would otherwise be lost to opioid misuse. The basis of the advisory is coming together as a nation to help reduce the number of deaths that occur from drug overdose.
Since Naloxone can be purchased over-the-counter in many states around the country, although there are a few states that still require a prescription, there is more access to the antidote for overdose. With such easy access, the Surgeon General recommends that everyone should be prepared to do their part. Adams is quoted saying, “For patients currently taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain, individuals misusing prescription opioids, individuals using illicit opioids such as heroin or fentanyl, health care practitioners, family and friends of people who have an opioid use disorder, and community members who come into contact with people at risk for opioid overdose, knowing how to use naloxone and keeping it within reach can save a life.”
There has been opposition to this advisory with people up in arms about enabling someone that abuses drugs because they are expecting that someone will save their life. If someone that is using drugs is merely relying on someone having Naloxone to revive them in an overdose, is the country giving into the opioid crisis instead of finding ways to get them into treatment? Having some civilian that is not medically trained trying to bring someone that is dying back to life could be traumatizing to them if they failed with the use of Naloxone.
The consensus has been that most people are willing to help their fellow countrymen that are suffering from substance abuse. Walgreens and CVS are keeping their stock full of Naloxone for anyone who wants to help a fellow citizen out.
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