We shouldn’t limit the use of Narcan

DEAR EDITOR:

It is not breaking news that drug addiction has plagued our local areas. In fact, it has been extremely prevalent over the past few years. Many people believe that drug use is a choice, and it is to some degree. The first time someone tries drugs is most likely due to peer pressure and it rarely stops there. This is where the addiction begins.

Is drug addiction a choice or a disease?

The answer is that it is a disease. Addiction alters the brain and rewires its hierarchy of needs. Unfortunately, when someone is addicted to drugs, the source of addiction often becomes a priority over family, health and law. The motive becomes chasing the next high, regardless of how it is reached.

Since addiction is so common in our area, there is an expected rise in overdoses as well. Today, most people know that Narcan, or naloxone, is an extremely effective antidote for opioid overdoses. It reverses side effects caused by opioids like slow breathing and euphoria. It restores a person’s respiratory drive, cuts off the feel-good chemicals that are released by the brain. It has many other effects, but the bottom line is that it saves lives that are often taken by addiction.

A common debate is whether Narcan use should be limited. Should a person be cut off from Narcan after being revived so many times? Many people ask “Why would we keep reviving addicts just so they can overdose again?” It is extremely unethical to let someone die simply because they have already been saved previously. The goal of emergency medical services is to save lives and / or bring patients to the hospital in the most stable condition possible. The goal of hospitals is for their patients to have the best outcomes possible. Limiting Narcan will severely hinder the goals and outcomes of EMS and local hospitals. Administering Narcan makes it easier for EMS to stabilize a patient that has overdosed. Without using Narcan in an overdose situation, more measures need to be taken in an attempt to stabilize the patient.

Likelihood of death will increase if use of Narcan is neglected. A higher death rate will also paint local EMS and hospitals in a bad light even if they are doing everything they can. It is also worth noting that companies that provide medical care are likely to lose funding due to poor patient outcomes. Using Narcan means more lives saved, better patient outcomes, following ethical protocol and offering loved ones the help they need to fight against addiction.

CHRIS MARONEN

Lordstown

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