We need more effective treatment. President Trump just declared the opioid epidemic a “public health emergency”. I don’t need to define what a public health emergency is, but it means that the abuse of opioids and the overdoses that follow have reached a critical mass. The bodies are stacking up, as ghoulish as it is to describe it that way. Families are torn apart: children are losing their parents, parents are burying their children, grandchildren dying years before their grandparents. And I, myself, am a survivor of polysubstance addiction, meaning I was addicted to multiple substances including painkillers (like Dilaudid) and heroin. I’ve overdosed 5 times. And 3 out of the 5 times, I woke up in a hospital bed. The other two times, I ended up coming out of it myself — scaring my friends in the process. I’ve also known many who have overdosed and died. One of my friends, Brianna (I changed her name to protect her memory), died when the opiate crisis was beginning, around the same time Phillip Seymour Hoffman died. More recently, my friend Paul Yabor fell to this insidious disease.
Whether or not one ascribes to the disease theory of addiction, the fact remains that human lives – all human lives – have value and all humans deserve to live. By Princess Harmony In America’s Rust Belt–a geographical area hit hardest first by poverty and then by the heroin and fentanyl epidemics–a city councilman proposed an idea so cruel that it feels like it could have come out of a bad parody of America. To save money on ambulances and other emergency services, Middletown, Ohio City councilman Dan Picard, proposed a Narcan three-strikes rule. Narcan is a medicine used to reverse the effects of opiate/opioid overdoses. This proposal, he claimed, would save the city money by abandoning people who “didn’t care about their own lives”. In other words, if you overdosed on heroin, fentanyl, or similar drugs, you’d only have Narcan administered to you twice. The third time, you’d be left to die if you didn’t have anyone around you who could administer it to you.
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