Some reject making the life-saving drug naloxone more widely available because they say the side effects that may come with it are too serious.
This is not true. I have given this drug many times in the hospital, have seen it given by emergency doctors and have reviewed literature about its use, and there is no evidence to support the claim that administering this medicine to reverse an opiate overdose will result in the side effects described.
The fact that someone will likely, and hopefully, have a withdrawal syndrome is what this medicine is designed to do. It will save someone’s life. They will be uncomfortable, possibly in full withdrawal, but breathing and alive.
While agitation, trembling, nervousness and vomiting may occur, for someone who might otherwise die of respiratory failure, these are risks that are far outweighed by the obvious benefit of survival.
The time is right for our governor to consider naloxone’s role in preventing deaths. If a law allowing first responders, family members and friends of opiate addicts to have and administer naloxone is enacted, there is no doubt that many people will survive their overdose who might otherwise die.
The cost of this intervention is far less than what is usually accepted for other reasonable interventions done in medicine.
Do we really need more deaths until we take action to prevent them?
Richard Fein, D.O.