Naloxone: A Lifesaver for Heroin Addicts but Sadly No Cure

naloxone as a lifesaver for opioid addiction

Naloxone has been seen to perform miracles, saving the lives of addicts overdosing, lying on death’s doorstep.  An unconscious 30 something year old woman with ashen gray skin and blue lips is treated by medics, injecting a needle into her arm.  In moments, her eyes flutter open, she is woozy and disoriented, but very much alive, as she’s whisked to the hospital in an ambulance for a follow up.  Prior to the discovery of Naloxone, she would surely have been dead, much like many other addicts now saved by this difference making drug.  The drug however, is a resuscitator not a savior.  It cannot rescue all addicts in time and cannot undo the long term damage caused by Heroin.  In fact, some people argue that to a certain extent, Naxolone even fosters addiction because Heroin addicts will take things even more to the extreme, pushing the envelope of their high, knowing they can be rescued, just in case.  Nonetheless, it plays a key role in the daily fight of survival, while sadly doing nothing in the ongoing war of opiate use and addiction.

78 Americans die every single day from opiate abuse. Naloxone rescue can prove to play a pivotal role in in helping someone to decide it’s time to seek help.  There’s nothing like being clinically dead, or close thereto, to give someone a wake up call.  Moreover, there’s no statistics confirming that Naloxone, as a back up, actually increases opiate abuse, all of the arguments stem from proof that is purely anecdotal.  However, with drug overdoses now killing more people in some states than even traffic accidents, many states are now passing laws to make Naloxone more widely available, as a precaution, because at the end of the day it most definitely does save lives.  In fact, the Food  and Drug Administration is now even considering eliminating the need of a prescription for that very reason.

It has certainly helped that the national mindset is changing.

Drug addicts have been lumped in with criminals for the past few decades, often incarcerated for failing to deal with their disease.  However, with the use of Naloxone and the country’s evolving gestalt, it is hopeful that we can all get to a better place in helping Heroin abusers kick their addiction.


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