Naloxone rescues good. Naloxone + recovery better

It's good to interrupt a drowning with a life preserver. It's better to pull them out of a dangerous sea.

From a new report on overdose reversals:

Use of naloxone kits resulted in almost 27,000 drug overdose reversals between 1996 and 2014, according to a new government study. Naloxone is an opioid overdose antidote.

That’s an impressive number and something to be celebrated.

It’s cause for calls for expanded access to naloxone and I have no doubt we’ll hear those calls.

It’s also cause for much more than that.

One has to wonder, what was the follow up care like for these people? How many of them got more than a passive referral to treatment? Of those, how many got linked to treatment of an adequate duration and intensity? Very few, I bet. And, where that did happen, it was more than likely family who were responsible.

Imagine for a moment, 27,000 cardiac patients rescued by defibrillators. What would we think if only a tiny fraction of them got good care following the rescue? Worse, what would we think if doctors with these rescues got good care with good outcomes but other rescued patients got poor care with bad outcomes?

Let’s hope we hear some advocacy around this as well.