If you could save someone from an overdose, would you do it?
The opioid epidemic is so bad in this country that one person dies from an overdose every 24 minutes, according to The New York Times.
In Cambridge, Mass., there was an experiment that determined if passersby would be willing to save someone who is overdosing in public by administering naloxone, a medication that will revive someone during an overdose, via nasal spray.
Dr. Scott Goldberg, director of emergency services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital who oversaw the study, says people were hesitant at first.
“But after trialing this, the feedback was amazing,” he said.
The idea is similar to installing AEDs for victims of heart attacks. Anyone willing to provide help can call 911, receive verbal instruction, and administer help before EMTs can arrive.
“If we can decrease the time between overdose and life-saving intervention, we can potentially have an impact on lives,” Goldberg said.
If this is actually adopted by cities, naloxone would be placed in lock boxes that could only be accessed by someone with a code. That code would be obtained by calling 911.
But is this just going to facilitate opioid use?
“We get that feedback a lot,” Goldberg said. “I don’t think that’s the case.”
The study was just the first step. Those involved still have to make a formal proposal. Goldberg would like to get a program up and running within a year.
A committee is meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss plans to open a pair of injection sites in King County. They’ll be going over recommendations from the Heroin and Opiate Task Force.
The task force will decide when and where those sites are set up. A group opposing the sites wants an initiative on the November ballot that would ban safe injection sites.