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No Narcan for Addicts - Save the Community! Ohio Judge and Nurse Suggests

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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    Editor’s note: Another Viewpoint is a column The [Ohio] News-Herald makes available so all sides of an issue may be aired. Judge Diane V. Grendell serves on the Ohio 11th District Court of Appeals. bt2h.jpg

    The heroin and fentanyl epidemic continues to grow in Northeast Ohio. The number of opiate drug deaths exceeds traffic-related fatalities. Much is said about drug treatment, but little is said about keeping heroin out of our communities.

    As a registered nurse, I appreciate the well-intended efforts to save addicts’ lives by expanding access to Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug, but the expanded availability of Narcan does not stop addicts from using heroin or fentanyl.

    In fact, giving Narcan to heroin addicts invites more and potentially more harmful heroin/fentanyl use. Emboldened by access to Narcan, heroin addicts continue to take heroin, often in more lethal doses. Some heroin addicts participate in “Lazarus parties” — group heroin use where an addict takes a serious dose of heroin and is subsequently saved (resurrected) with Narcan by another addict.

    Providing Narcan to heroin/fentanyl addicts may seem humane, but it is not preventing heroin use or addressing the growing heroin epidemic. In reality, it is only serving to encourage more heroin abuse. There were reports that heroin dealers are now selling Narcan to heroin addicts along with heroin.

    Giving Narcan to addicts is like giving fire extinguishers to pyromaniacs. The only thing assured is more criminal activity.

    Certainly, more and better drug intervention treatment is needed to help heroin addicts overcome their drug addiction. But, again, such treatment addresses the drug epidemic from the back end. What about stopping the easy flow of heroin into Northeast Ohio?

    What is not being discussed is what is really needed — stopping the easy access to heroin and fentanyl in Northeast Ohio. The best and most effective way to prevent heroin and fentanyl addiction is to eliminate easy access to those illegal drugs. Unfortunately, when asked, local drug addicts readily say that there is easy local access to heroin and multiple readily accessible drug dealers.

    quote.jpg Yet, the state of Ohio has placed its primary attention on post-addiction efforts such as Narcan and treatment, instead of drug prevention.

    If heroin and fentanyl were less easy to obtain, there would be less need for Narcan or treatment.

    If we, as a community, really want to address the current heroin/fentanyl problem, we should demand that federal, state and local governments and law enforcement agencies take the actions needed to stop the flow of heroin and fentanyl into our communities. Ohio will not continue to be the “overdose capital of the United States” if heroin and fentanyl are not readily available in Ohio. While getting these drugs out of our communities may not be easy or cheap, bringing a real end to the heroin epidemic would be well worth it both in the lives saved and reduced taxpayer-funded social services costs.

    It’s time to attack the heroin/fentanyl epidemic head-on. It is time to fight with every tool available to keep heroin out of our communities. An ounce of prevention certainly is worth a pound of cure.

    Original Source

    Written by: Judge Diane V. Grendell, Feb 19, 2017, The News-Herald of Ohio

Comments

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    This editorial, written by 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge—and registered nurse, it must be mentioned!—Diane V. Grendell, running in today’s Ohio News-Herald newspaper—is a difficult read for the humane and enlightened people of the DF community, but one that to read is in the all-around best interest of us, knowledgeable people. We who use drugs or know people who do need to be aware how hateful, insecure and wrong some fellow Americans claiming to be looking out for the “higher good” of all, and how they go about doing so.

    Judge Grendell’s viewpoint raises the hair on my arms and repulses me, but more importantly, it angers me deep inside and reminds me of just how easy it is to leave it there and do no more. But I myself am going to take her insulting and misinformed words further, and I hope others here on DF who read her words and also feel so compelled as well. I am going to write Judge Grendall a response to her editorial and make sure she is called out on her lack of humanity. Her self-concern that is more than blinding in its obviousness.

    Maybe that is how we best strike back at the alt-right establishment that has their compassion – on backward.
    1. Beenthere2Hippie
      Pardon my typos (above) half asleep after a nap and no edit function available boo hoo...dammit
  2. Giscco
    Reading this is just sickening as my father almost died from an overdose on heroin and narcan completely saved his life.
    1. Beenthere2Hippie
      Yes, it is sickening and thank you for sharing your personal story. I am sorry for your loss.
  3. Terpene
    I think it's impossible to stop the flow. I know that sounds like a defeatist's attitude, but I feel instead that it's a realist's attitude. We only have an X amount of dollars, and we're already spending that much. Even if we were to somehow double the budget (which we'll never be able to), it would do very little.

    Narcan saves lives, plain and simple. To disallow access to it would simply be barbaric. I suppose you may be correct in saying that some people fear overdose less, and hence use more because of the presence of Narcan, but that's not a good reason to deprive everyone else of a lifesaver. It's just not.

    Also, the fact that it doesn't reduce use rates is not a reason to "ban" it. If a medicine was invented that temporarily eliminated all symptoms of diabetes, it may cause patients to eat things they shouldn't because they know they could just take that medicine if needed. However, that would not be a good argument to ban the medicine. If we made Narcan unavailable, more people would die. That simply cannot be disputed. People would die, and their loved ones would be without a mother, father, son, or daughter. That would be the DIRECT result of banning Narcan.

    Unless you want that on your conscience, you should rethink your view, with all due respect.
  4. PghTPHMFox
    What a prehistoric view:(. She said it guarantees more "criminal behavior"- not addiction nor self destruction,but crime. That, in and of itself let's me know that she has the precise mindset which often prevents a hindrance, rather than propellant to addiction treatment.
    How long has D.A.R.E and the likes been around? The problem isn't that people don't know that drugs are bad, it's that ,in my humble opinion, we are relying on the crimal justice system to provide treatment,much like we did when the medical community was largely still ignorant about the brain mechanisms behind mental illness. Lock ' em up; Outta sight, outta mind- for the'community's sake'. Today, those sentiments are regarded as barbaric and terribly outdated,and rightly so. I feel as a nation, it's the stigma & ignorance and inability to forget about the old , Puritanical ways of thinking that addiction is a mere moral dilemma that prove repeatedly to be a stumbling block, because to try something different requires knowing that what we've always done has gotten the same poor results(there's a saying about that),i.e., admitting failure.
    The only time it's prudent to abandon hope is when one is dead. Until then,plenty of people DO recover. This is a horrible idea, with too many variables to go such an unrealistic route. Save money on Narcan, now the state county has to cover burials and minors who's parents just died. The cost will be exponentially more expensive. Doesn't"preventing death" count in the ounce of prevention??
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