Narcan vs Opioids

The United States' opioid epidemic is more widespread than ever. At last, however, America is starting to understand the effects of opioids and their capacity to kill. Opioids are, first and foremost, a pain reliever. But they also depress the body's central nervous and respiratory systems. When a person overdoses on opiates, their slow-inflating lungs begin to stop altogether. Narcan, the brand name of the overdose-countering drug naloxone, has helped to stem the tide of opioid overdoses. Until recently though it was only available to medical professionals.

Narcan as Drug Treatment

Pros

The U.S. Surgeon General urged more Americans to carry the opioid overdose-reversing drug for one very simple reason -- doing so can save thousands of lives. First responders and emergency room workers have known this for years. Now the general public is being given the opportunity to follow suit. CVS now offers Narcan over-the-counter in 43 states. Walgreens has made the overdose-reversing drug available in all 8000 of its stores. Wal-Mart and Kroger have also announced similar initiatives. Soon everyone will be able to immediately assist someone who's suffered an overdose.

Cons

A recent study claims naloxone access may unintentionally increase opioid abuse through two channels: (1) reducing the risk of death per use, thereby making riskier opioid use more appealing, and (2) saving the lives of active drug users, who survive to continue abusing opioids. Yes, wider access to Narcan may unintentionally increase opioid abuse. But in places where more drug treatment is available, such unintended consequences can be significantly reduced. Researchers say if access to Narcan increases, so should funding for drug treatment.

Recovery Boot Camp's Position on Narcan

We at Recovery Boot Camp deal with the effects of America's opioid epidemic every day. We know that Narcan can save lives. And we have no opposition to making it readily available to the general public. We also support enhanced education and increased treatment. If we as a country are to truly stem the tide of opiate overdoses, we've got to do more than stop people from dying. We've also got to give them back their lives.

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