Not good enough

This is good:

The opiate-blocker naloxone is one of the year’s most celebrated drugs, breaking into the mainstream as a magic-bullet antidote that yanks overdose victims from the brink of death with a shot of nasal spray or an intravenous injection. Police take it on patrols. Emergency medical technicians keep it in their ambulances. Ordinary Americans are stocking their medicine cabinets with it. Because of it, hundreds of people who might have died this year from taking too much heroin, Oxycontin or similar painkillers remain alive.

This is not good:

But the lifesaving medication is not a cure. After it has done its job, overdose survivors are left with their cravings intact. Without follow-up care, they are likely to keep feeding their habits, putting them at risk of another overdose, one that could kill them. Treatment, however, can be very difficult to find.

Lying in the emergency room after being revived, many addicts say they experience a fleeting moment of clarity that makes them receptive to help. But that potential is often lost in a patchwork healthcare system that gives survivors little incentive to change. Many walk out of the hospital with just a list of treatment options on their discharge papers, researchers and health care workers say.

2 thoughts on “Not good enough

  1. As a recovery advocate, I agree with you. It’s far from enough. Which is why embedding recovery advocates/coaches/peers in emergency rooms can play such an important part in recovery. They walk out with a relationship with someone who can actually follow through with connecting them to services, or provide support. Providing information to family members is also a very important role these folks can play.


  2. Very few folks, if any, with a life threatening illness are discharged from an ED without an appointment or specific contact information with a specialist. Sometimes there is even a follow-up call from the ED staff to be sure there has been appropriate follow-up. Should be the same for the addict after rescue from an overdose.


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