Pubdate: Sun, 07 Aug 2016
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2016 The New York Times Company
Author: Claudia Greene


Naloxone saves lives after a heroin overdose, but does it also 
encourage addiction?

To the Editor: Some of those you interview make the case that people 
use naloxone to continue their pattern of pleasure-seeking behaviors, 
even to their own detriment. However, abuse of opioids is not an act 
of free will; it is an agonizing compulsion. A person with a 
substance abuse disorder is compelled to use even when he or she no 
longer feels pleasure from the act. I volunteer with the Needle 
Exchange Emergency Distribution to distribute naloxone, clean 
syringes and other harm reduction supplies to clients in the East Bay 
area. Tellingly, the article quotes Gov. Paul LePage of Maine saying 
that "naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them 
until the next overdose." Perhaps if Governor LePage met our clients 
he would see that people with substance abuse disorders are as worthy 
of compassionate care as anyone with a chronic disease.


Berkeley, Calif.

The writer is pursuing a master's of public health degree at the 
University of California Berkeley School of Public Health.
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