It is unfortunate that it takes the death of an internationally known and loved celebrity to bring into focus the affliction that drugs have swept over this country.  Yesterday, it was confirmed that Prince died from an accidental overdose of an opioid called Fentanyl.  This did not come as a surprise to most.  Just six days before his death, his private plane had to make an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois.  The reports state Prince had suffered from an overdose on Percocet (another opioid) and when the plane landed he received a “save shot” from the EMT’s at the airport.  There has been no confirmation on what this “save shot” was, but it was most likely a shot called Narcan.


Narcan’s main ingredient is Naloxone and it is an antidote to treat an opiate overdose if caught in time.  This is an amazing discovery in the medical field and it has reversed 26,463 overdoses from 1996 to 2014 according to the CDC.  Over the last couple of years several programs have received funding to make this shot more available.  Sounds great, right?


Unfortunately, this may be hindering addicts more than it is helping them.  Personally, I think it is a good thing there has been a lot of attention on the staggering amount of overdoses plighting this country. And Narcan saves lives.  My issue is there is often nothing set up to help after they are saved. Narcan is considered harm reduction.  Harm reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas designed to reduce the negative consequences associated with drug use.  It is not designed for treatment, which is what it should have been followed by.


Prince would be alive today if he went to treatment following his overdose and subsequent Narcan treatment.  Clearly, he had the resources and means to go to treatment, so why didn’t he?


We may never know that answer, but it brings up a point that not many people are addressing which is the vital need for TREATMENT.   Vermont has made Narcan available to laypeople, yet only 30% of the people who have been revived never went to the hospital.  The Boston Medical hospital states out of the 395 people who have been revived in the years 2014-2015, 30% of them have received the shot more than once and 10% have received it more than 3 times.


I too have had experience with Naloxone.  I made the terrible mistake of injecting Suboxone when I still had opiates in my system.  One of the main ingredients in Suboxone is Naloxone, the same thing that is in Narcan.  Immediately I collapsed on the ground, sure I was going to die.  Luckily, my mother came home to me, barely conscious on the floor and she called 911.


When the paramedics arrived, my mom gave them the Suboxone wrapper to show them what had happened.  They started to give me the Narcan shot and even though I couldn’t move I pointed to the word naloxone on the Suboxone wrapper and the Narcan packaging.  They did not administer it to me and took me straight to the hospital.  Once there, a social worker came in to see me.  She simply handed me a list of treatment centers and once I said I did not want to go, that was it, and they released me after just a few hours.


There was also no effort given to get me actual help.  Yes, the hospital and those paramedics saved my life.  But I went back to heroin the very next day.  I am sure there have been many other people who share this experience with me.  I am one of the fortunate ones who ended up getting sober for good.


The solution needs to be more funding for the rehabs.  There is no doubt Narcan saves lives, but only for the moment.  Drugs (any drug) are just a solution to a problem. If there is not more care given to addicts to help them figure out what that problem is, we will still see overdoses every single day.   Narcan use have to be followed up with treatment.  While we applaud the lives saved from Narcan interventions, we can’t lose sight of the overall goal; sobriety.

Written By Guest Blogger Dianna Re’ :Dianna-6

A native New Orleanian, Dianna attended Loyola University in the heart of that city, majoring in Biology as a Pre-Med student. After three years of university studies, a heroin addiction interrupted her desire to help others and she found herself seeking treatment in program after program until 2012 when she attained sobriety at Narconon Louisiana and is now the Graduate Officer.


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