Tuesday, February 04, 2014

As Heroin Deaths Soar, Drug Promoted To Counter Effects Of Overdoses, But Why?

The Northwest Indiana Times Bob Kasarda has a story today discussing the fact that heroin use is now claiming more lives than any other drug in northwest Indiana. The problem is statewide, however, and I suspect has something to do with the big uptick in homicides taking place in Indianapolis. A so-called miracle drug, Naloxone, is being promoted as a way of counteracting the crisis. Legislative efforts are now under way according to Kasarda with the support of Attorney General Greg Zoeller to allow first responders access to Naloxone because of its proven ability to counteract heroin overdoses. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's death over the weekend from a heroin overdose is already being used to tout the proposal:
State lawmakers are pondering a proposal that would allow police, fire and emergency responders the right to administer the drug naloxone, branded as Narcan, which quickly neutralizes the effect of heroin and other opioids, according to Aaron Kochar, director of prevention and education at Porter Starke Services.
Naloxone, which has been used for decades and currently is limited in Indiana to use by physicians, earns its label as a miracle drug by taking as little as three to five minutes to reverse an opioid overdose, he said.
Naloxone works by kicking heroin off brain receptors and reversing the oxygen deprivation that leads to death.
The tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman of an apparent heroin overdose has underscored the growing number of heroin deaths in the U.S. that cut across class, race, age and gender lines. It also highlights the need not only to try to stem heroin addiction, but also heroin deaths due to overdose, giving addicts a second chance to fight the disease . . .  
The proposed legislation was amended recently into Senate Bill 227 and is pending before the House after clearing the Senate. It also now would provide emergency officials with immunity from civil liability. The House has until March 3 to act on the bill.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Friday his support for the naloxone amendment.
First responders in Illinois already have access to naloxone, and Chicago provides the drug to lay people who are at risk of overdose or associate with those at risk, Kochar said. Naloxone is credited with reversing overdoses involving 10,171 people nationwide since 1996, he said.
Kochar dismisses the concern that increasing access to naloxone to emergency responders or even lay people will encourage the use of heroin. He said this sort of logic is not part of addictive thinking, and that people who received overdose training with naloxone have reported a decrease in drug use . . .
SB 227 is sponsored by Sen. James Merritt (R-Indianapolis). A company based in Lake Forest, Illinois called Hospira, which is Latin for "hope" appears to have cornered the market on Naloxone and has jacked the prices of the overdose life saver by 1100% according to Alternet. The chief executive officer of Hospira is Michael Ball, who started his healthcare career at Eli Lilly. What was that drug that the government pushed for drug treatment back in the 1960s that was invented in 1937 by the Nazis in Germany? Yes, that was methadone. Who marketed methadone in the U.S. Yes, that was Eli Lilly. Which country's production and exporting of heroin skyrocketed after the U.S. began its military occupation of the country? Yes, that's Afghanistan. In which country does the CIA deliver cash bribes to drug overlords and government officials by the millions of dollars in brown paper bags? Yes, that would also be Afghanistan. Gee, I wonder why spooks like Dr. Beurt SerVaas were so interested in the study of medical science and, in particular, drugs that affect the mind? So we connect the dots the mainstream media refuse to connect at the risk of being labeled a whacko conspiracy theorist. Eyes wide shut.


Flogger said...

It does appear that where the USA has an involvement Drug Trafficking flourishes: The Golden Triangle during the Vietnam Era, Cocaine during the Contra period in Latin America, and now heroin in Afghanistan.

Anonymous said...

I hate to break it to you, but Narcan is used regularly on the street by Paramedics who work under a Physicians license. Each ambulance service is required to have a medical director, a physician, who sets protocols for treatment. I'm not aware of any advanced life support ambulances in the state which don't carry Narcan.
I believe the issue here is that they want to give it to police officers to administer if they arrive before EMS.

Anonymous said...

yep, as anon says we have been using Narcan on a regular basis for almost 20 years here

Gary R. Welsh said...

Tell that to lawmakers and the Attorney General. They're the ones saying that legislation is needed.

Anonymous said...

The point of the legislation is to expand who can use naloxone to include all 4 categories of emergency medical responders, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.

Naloxone counters an opioids effect of suffocating a user; the sooner naloxone is administered, the better chance that a life will be saved.