Monday, September 25, 2006

Underused cure for drug OD

There was a couple of interesting editorials in the Chicago Tribune yesterday (not that they weren’t all interesting, but I’ll comment on these 2, on different days).

I was discussing some “work things” with a colleague and she said the “real role” of the Coroner is to try and put themselves out of business by eliminating the business (not that that will ever happen). I certainly agree that my primary goal is to forestall death. To that point Steve Chapman had an editorial in the Trib making a point with which I heartily agree.

Naloxone should be available on the street to prevent/treat heroin overdose.
One way to prevent people from overdosing is to stop them from using drugs. But as smokers have demonstrated, knowing you should quit and actually quitting are two different things…
Abstinence is best, but when it's not universal, other remedies are needed…
But it's entirely feasible for governments to proselytize against drug use while trying to keep drug users alive, just as we preach against tobacco while providing medical care to smokers stricken by emphysema…

Naloxone will not only save lives, but by being able to rapidly treat overdoses it will also decrease short-term (ER) medical costs and long-term medical costs (treatment of anoxic encephalopathy and the like from not-so-quick “saves”).

I applaud the efforts of Dan Bigg and the Chicago Recovery Alliance bringing care to the streets. Also, the efforts of Senator Dick Durbin to get federal legislation in place for overdose treatment effort support.

I’ll take all the help I can get in forestalling death.

Make good choices and don’t take chances first of all; prevention is always better than treatment, but treatment needs to be available as well.

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