An article appeared in Time Magazine on May 29, 2009 entitled: “Do DIY Anti-overdose kits help?”
The article focused on one rehab center called Chicago Alliance that is giving kits to drug users in exchange for needles at trade in events.
The kits contain a drug called naloxone (Narcan) which is used in ambulances and hospitals to reduce opiate overdose. Overdoses kill about 22,000 Americans each year and most are completely by accident. Most of them come from mixing substances. That was the cause of death of actor Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith.
17 states having in place what the Chicago Alliance is doing. And city health departments in New York City, Boston, Baltimore and San Francisco have similar programs. However, many do not see Anti-overdose kits and their distribution to be the answer to the drug overdose problem or even dual diagnosis treatment.
There is a very real possibility that the kits could be being misused because they are out of the hands of the professionals that were meant to be using them, like EMTs and doctors.
Here is a quote from the article regarding misuse issues: “A recent study published in the journal Addiction found that after naloxone training, addicts did just as well as medical professionals at addiction treatment centers at recognizing the symptoms of overdose and determining when to use the medication. And addiction experts say the experience of coming back from an overdose is frightening enough — not to mention often accompanied by severe withdrawal symptoms — that few addicts would consider using naloxone as an insurance policy to justify taking more drugs.”
Is the medication effective and fulfilling its purpose? Yes it absolutely is. But it makes one think if giving addicts an out if they overdose is the right answer. Does it make them feel as if they can continue using? What do you think about DIY anti-overdose kits?