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


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

To the Editor: In an effort to be balanced, the article notes that 
critics' opposition to naloxone is based on the premise that it gives 
drug users a safety net, allowing them to take more risks and seek 
higher highs, resulting in multiple overdoses. These claims are 
refuted by studies in New York, San Francisco and here in Connecticut 
of overdose risks, undertaken before widespread availability of 
naloxone, in which a strong predictor of an overdose was a previous 
nonfatal overdose. To date, no evidence has been presented that 
naloxone availability or use in response to overdoses increases 
risk-taking or overdose frequency. Instead, there is plenty of 
evidence that it saves lives and provides those individuals an 
opportunity to seek treatment. The critics' disparaging of the 
lifesaving benefits of naloxone is just another example of the 
stigmatization of those with the chronic disorder of opioid abuse 
that brands such individuals as unworthy of efforts to reduce their mortality.


New Haven

The writer is a professor at the Yale University School of Public Health.
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