Pubdate: Tue, 30 Sep 2014
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Post Company
Author: Michael Botticelli
Page: A16


Danielle Hall's story, as told in the Sept. 21 Metro article "The 
drug that turned a heroin user's life around," demonstrated the 
importance of training law enforcement officers, often the first 
responders to the scene of a drug overdose, to use naloxone. In my 
field, naloxone, the highly effective opioid overdose-reversal drug, 
is often referred to as a "miracle."

The Obama administration is committed to expanding access to this 
miracle drug to police officers and other first-responders. With 
about 17,000 opioid-related drug deaths in 2011, more Americans are 
now dying from drug overdoses than from car crashes. Getting naloxone 
into the hands of anyone in a position to prevent the next overdose 
is my urgent priority.

While en route to the hospital after first responders treated her, 
Ms. Hall was charged with possession of paraphernalia. The prospect 
of criminal or civil charges has a chilling effect on witnesses to an 
overdose and can mean the difference between life and death. Good 
Samaritan laws, which provide limited legal immunity to overdose 
witnesses and victims, should accompany naloxone to ensure that no 
legal barrier prevents an overdose witness from calling for help. By 
sharing Ms. Hall's story, The Post has shone a light on what it takes 
to prevent overdose deaths.

Michael Botticelli, Washington The writer is acting director of the 
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
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