The Addictions Academy: The Narcan Controversy
Naloxone, or Narcan as it’s widely known, has been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives across the U.S since 1996. This product is an antidote for opiate overdoses and can reverse the effects of such powerful opiates like heroin in a matter of minutes. This reversal saves the user who is overdosing from certain death. Many law enforcement agencies have recently begun requiring officers to carry the “save shot” and certain states have made it available to the public to purchase and keep in case a loved one finds themselves in a life or death situation.
Making Narcan available to the public and equipping officers with the drug has created quite a controversy with some people supporting saving lives and others taking the stance that this product only serves as a safety net and gives the addict or user a false sense of security. In some areas officers are becoming more and more frustrated, because they are administering Narcan shots to the same individuals over and over. On the other hand, you have people like John Goyer who overdosed and had to be revived with Narcan. After a brief hospital stay he cleaned up completely and is now traveling the country bringing awareness about Narcan and its benefits.
It obviously saves lives, for example, in the South Boston area last year there were 591 opiate overdoses and 417 of them were brought back with Narcan. I guess the question is, do these staggering numbers of saved lives contribute to the user “pushing the envelope” at a higher rate or are we saving lives and steering users away from future overdoses. We do know one thing, a Narcan shot isn’t nearly as effective as treatment or sober coaching like we provide here at The Addictions Coach and there is legislation that is trying to get passed that requires anyone who is brought back from an overdose by Narcan, must go to treatment. What side of the fence do you fall on? Are we enabling addicts with Narcan or saving lives? Should a bill be passed that requires a person who receives a “save shot” to get professional help and treatment? We’d love to hear your input. 1.800.706.0813