Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Director Gil Kerlikowske recently stated in a news conference, "The use of opioids -- a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers -- is having a devastating impact on public health and safety in communities across the nation." He also encouraged more people to become familiar with naloxone.
The latest statistics show that there was an increase of 45% in fatal heroin overdoses between 2006 and 2010, and they have certainly gone up even more since then. Naloxone counteracts opiate overdoses by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain.
Deputy Director of the National Instutute on Drug Abuse Wilson Compton told the Los Angeles Times that naloxone is virtually 100% effective in reversing overdose situations when administered properly. Recent news shows that police in Indiana will start carrying naloxone, and legislation is being introduced in New York as well.
Greater awareness and use of naloxone around the country can help save thousands of lives per year, as opiate-related overdoses from prescription drugs and heroin have reached roughly 20,000 annually now.
Of course, preventing fatalities in overdose situations is great for short-term relief, but it doesn't negate long-term solutions such detox centers and addiction treatment facilities. A successful rehabilitation program is the best way to prevent an overdose because the person is no longer using the life-threatening substance.
If you know of someone in need of help for an addiction to opiates or any other drug, contact Decision Point Center today to speak with a counselor about our life-saving treatment options.