Ciudades como Baltimore, Nueva York y Chicago están distribuyendo naloxona entre civiles y enseñándoles a reanimar a un usuario de drogas en caso de emergencia. Los efectos positivos ya son visibles entre la población usuaria de drogas. Más información, en inglés, está disponible abajo.
Suscríbase a las Alertas mensuales del IDPC para recibir información sobre cuestiones relacionadas con políticas sobre drogas.
Deep into a three-day heroin binge at a local hotel, Samantha told the newbie he was shooting too much. He wasn’t accustomed to heroin, she said, and hadn’t waited long enough since his last injection.
“But he didn’t listen,” she said. Sure enough, he emerged from a visit to the bathroom, eyes glazed, and collapsed from an overdose.
Samantha, who declined to give her last name to avoid trouble with her bosses at a nearby strip club, said she grabbed her naloxone, the fast-acting antidote to opioid overdoses. She was too panicked to place the atomizer on the end of the syringe, but her boyfriend wasn’t. He sprayed the mist into the nose of the unconscious drug user, who awoke minutes later.
“I always have it because I’m scared to death,” said Samantha, who said she has been shooting heroin for 22 years. “I don’t want to be helpless.”
As the opioid epidemic has exploded in small towns and suburbs in recent years, officials have scrambled to put naloxone in the hands of drug users’ families and friends, and to make it more widely available by equipping police officers with the drug.
At the same time, thousands of lives are being saved by giving the antidote to drug users. More than 80 percent of overdose victims revived by “laypeople” were rescued by other users, most of them in the past few years, according to one national survey published in June.
Baltimore has trained 12,000 people on the streets to use naloxone in the past 11 years, 2,150 of them this year alone. “If someone is using a drug that could kill them, they should also have the antidote available,” said Leana Wen, the city’s health commissioner. Chicago, New York and San Francisco also hand out thousands of doses to drug users at little or no cost.
Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.