Narcan outrage

This NPR story about Narcan distribution has prompted outraged posts from Mark Kleiman and Matt Yglesias. (I posted about it earlier this month.)

I’m not a fan of Narcan programs(Which isn’t to say I’d obstruct one.), mostly because they operate in environments that have little or no treatment, and don’t make it their responsibility to facilitate recovery and advocate for recovery support.

Narcan programs are a symptom of our pathetic response to addiction. Given access to meaningful treatment (Not just once a week outpatient or methadone.), most addicts would prefer recovery. Addicts hate their lives, they just see no hope for a different life. Narcan distribution in the context of a system in which only the rich can access high quality treatment is a sad statement about our collective values. I’d have more respect for Narcan distribution advocates if they were working hard to facilitate recovery and advocating treatment on demand.

That Narcan distribution can save lives is important, but the unasked question is, “how many addicts want treatment, were unable to get meaningful treatment, and died during that period.” Our response should be both/and.