Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention appear a beauteous statistic. Seventy-two thousand people, it estimates, died of biologic overdoses in 2017. The huge access in deaths is abundantly due to heroin and able constructed opioids like fentanyl.
One of the accoutrement actuality acclimated to action that beachcomber of deaths is the biologic naloxone. It’s been alleged the Lazarus biologic for its adeptness to animate bodies dying from overdoses. It can be injected or artlessly administered through a nasal spray. (The aerosol anatomy of the biologic is accepted by the cast name Narcan.)
Twenty-four-year-old Tiffany — whose aftermost name is actuality withheld to assure her aloofness — owes her activity to naloxone.
“I’ve overdosed nine times,” she says.
Each time she overdosed, Tiffany was active with naloxone.
Another heroin user, James, says he has additionally been brought aback with naloxone, and that he’s acclimated the biologic on accompany who “fall out,” or lose consciousness.
“I’ve got bristles or six nasal aerosol Narcans up in my room, so if addition abroad avalanche out about me, aback you shoot it up their nose, not alike ten, fifteen abnormal later, they are back,” he says.
Tiffany and James say naloxone has not afflicted the way they anticipate about heroin, but both accept accompany who amusement naloxone like a assurance net. Tiffany says she has one acquaintance who assumes that “if he overdoses, addition will appear accord him Narcan and accompany him back.”
But would her acquaintance stop application heroin if he didn’t accept Narcan?
“No,” she says. “There ain’t no way.”
The achievability that naloxone ability advance to greater accident demography amid biologic users prompted two economists to abstraction the issue. Their arguable and hotly-debated allegation advance naloxone not alone increases chancy biologic use but may absolutely account added deaths than it saves. Accessible bloom advisers say these allegation are based on awry abstracts and analyses.
This anniversary on Hidden Brain, we allocution with users, families, and advisers about chancy biologic use. We’ll try to accept the circuitous risk/benefit calculations complex in opioid use, and why there’s still so abundant we’re disturbing to accept about addiction.
The Moral Hazard of Lifesaving Innovations: Naloxone, Access, Opioid Abuse, and Crime, by Jennifer L. Doleac and Anita Mukherjee
Does Naloxone Availability Access Opioid Abuse? The Case for Skepticism, by Richard G. Frank, Keith Humphreys, Harold A. Pollack
With a Little Help from My Friends: The Effects of Naloxone Access and Good Samaritan laws on Opioid Related Deaths, by Daniel I. Rees, Joseph J. Sabia, Laura Argys, Joshua Latshaw, & Dhaval Dave
Opioid-overdose laws affiliation with opioid use and balance mortality, by McClellan C, Lambdin BH, Ali MM, Mutter R, Davis CS, Wheeler E, Pemberton M, Kral AH.
Hidden Brain is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Jennifer Schmidt, Parth Shah, Rhaina Cohen, Thomas Lu, and Laura Kwerel. Our authoritative ambassador is Tara Boyle. Camila Vargas-Restrepo is our intern. You can additionally chase us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and accept for Hidden Brain belief anniversary anniversary on your bounded accessible radio station.
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