Pubdate: Mon, 30 Jun 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: J. Long
Page: 12


In response to Mike Gimbel's letter expressing concern about training
police to administer naloxone, the point is not to cure substance
abuse but to provide another tool to save someone who is sick and
suffering a medical emergency ("Narcan won't solve the problem of
addiction," June 23). While we are all entitled to our personal
opinions, Mr. Gimbel has repeatedly passed off his as professional
ones. If he was serious about reducing the growing population of
substance abusers, he would wake up and realize that his approach is
one that has not worked in this state or country as a whole. It is in
line with the failed public policies of the war on drugs campaign.

The Baltimore City Health Department implemented an overdose response
program in which addicts were trained to perform rescue breathing and
administer naloxone in 2004. Mr. Gimbel was one of those in
opposition, leading the charge to denounce the efforts to reduce the
rate of overdose deaths by training addicts. The program has been
going strong for the past decade now with not one reported incident of
concern. These programs are crucial because they provide education and
other services to a population that is often hard to reach. They
engage clients were they are, increasing the opportunity to link them
to other needed services like substance abuse treatment.

We must continue to evolve in our approaches to effectively address
the problems. If people are dead, you are unlikely going to get them
into recovery, if that is the goal.

J. Long
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