Should Nevada join in and make naloxone available without a prescription?
The Time to Act Is Now
Nevada ranks fourth in the country when it comes to rates of drug overdose deaths, the cause of 21.6 deaths for every 100,000 residents, making it the number one cause of fatal injury in the state. This is clearly not a problem that has been fixed by the passing of 2015’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act that made it safe for people to call for help on behalf of someone who was overdosing without worry about personal legal ramifications or the State of Nevada Plan to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse that was designed to reduce the rates of prescription drug abuse across the state by 18 percent by 2018. This is not to say that those changes did not save lives and were ineffective, but it is to say that more work must be done, and that includes helping to increase access to naloxone when it is needed.
Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle chairs the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services responsible for proposing the bill. Says Sprinkle: “This has been a priority for myself. I know it’s been a priority for the governor and many other people the last few years in regard to the prescription drug abuse problem that has gone on, and this is just one more way of helping at least in those immediate, emergent situations to keep people from dying. This bill, once passed, will help to save people’s lives in an emergent situation.”
What Does Your Family Need to Begin the Healing Process?
If your loved one is living with an opiate addiction, you may want to have naloxone on hand in the event that you happen to be standing by when your family member overdoses. However, this is not a failsafe against death due to addiction, nor is it a guarantee that the person will not die due to accidental injury while under the influence or a related medical condition. It is important to note that when fentanyl is one of the drugs that triggers an overdose, first responders have had to use multiple doses of naloxone in some cases in order to get the person back, and in Georgia, two strains of the drug have been potentially identified as resistant to naloxone entirely.
The best course forward is to prepare for the worst while also working to help your loved one connect with treatment services now. Passing of the bill allowing for easier access to naloxone is a step forward, but the only way to guarantee against death due to overdose is abstinence. Though there is no cure for addiction, there is a range of treatments and therapies that can help to facilitate the process of recovery, starting with medical detox and continuing with long-term therapeutic intervention and support.
It is not always easy to help someone who is living with an opiate addiction to recognize the need for treatment, but if overdose occurs and naloxone is available to turn things around, the moment can be used as a launching point for recovery with medical intervention and advice from emergency medical personnel and the support of concerned family members.
How will you respond if your loved one overdoses? Are you ready to help them connect with treatment services that can help to save their life?