Pubdate: Tue, 21 Oct 2014
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2014 Los Angeles Times
Author: Chloe Blalock


Re "Death rates suggest shift in drug use," Oct. 16

The article describes a small decrease in prescription pill overdoses 
coupled with a significant increase in heroin overdoses. This is an 
unintended consequence of attempts to restrict opioid prescriptions 
in an effort to curb overdoses.

But restricting access to a drug isn't drug treatment. As the report 
shows, people who use prescription opioids often switch to heroin as 
a result of restricted access to pills. What people need to know is 
that heroin use carries an increased risk of accidental overdose due 
to toxic impurities and unpredictable potency.

Instead of trying to prevent all drug use, why not focus on using 
naloxone to prevent overdoses that unintentionally result from drug use?

Through change in public policies, naloxone can be made more 
accessible. It is inexpensive, safe, easy to use - and it is a 
lifesaving medication.

Chloe Blalock

Long Beach The writer is the overdose prevention program coordinator 
for Homeless Health Care Los Angeles.
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