There was a terrific report on NPR today by Laura Starecheski all about efforts to teach friends and family members of drug addicts how to reverse a drug overdose. Starecheski begins with the story of Priscilla Graham-Farmer, a drug case worker who happened upon an overdosing young man in a stairwell:
"In her car, she had the silver bullet remedy for exactly this sort of crisis: a naloxone kit (or Narcan, the brand name it's best known by). Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an overdose of heroin, OxyContin, Vicodin and other opioids. The drug blocks the physical effects of opioids — ending the high, and stopping the depression of the respiratory system that can be their deadly side effect. Graham-Farmer carries her Narcan kit wherever she goes."
Starecheski's reporting hits multiple key points: the ease of using Narcan, legislative efforts made to promote access to naloxone, and the necessity to get more people trained to respond in situations where a friend, family member, or complete stranger is overdosing. She also places a keen focus on why response training is growing in popularity among funders and other interested parties -- a lot of it has to do with the shifting demographics of who is overdosing.
"Across the state of New York and on a national scale, the crisis is affecting people far beyond poor, urban neighborhoods. "The rates are rising in white and middle-class communities," [Anne Siegler, a researcher with New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ] says, and people there are starting to pay more attention. "The conversation has really changed.""
Take a look at the full report (linked again below) and let us know what you think about these efforts to curb overdoses through response training.
Read more at NPR
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