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San Francisco police advocates use of naloxone to reverse effects of opioid overdose
While communities across the Bay Area continue to battle an ever-growing opioid addiction in the form of heroin abuse, a wonder drug called “naloxone” is gaining wide popularity as a new life saver. For the past one year, the San Francisco Police Department(SFPD) and the Harm Reduction Coalition Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) have been working in collaboration to save numerous lives from the increasing menace of overdose.
Police officers in the San Francisco city are now equipped with a naloxone kit in their patrol cars to combat the rising opioid overdose cases across the city. Popularly known as “Narcan”, the life-saving drug is administered with a nasal device by trained officers from the Tenderloin, Mission, Northern and Southern stations.
“I think it’s a positive thing that law enforcement is doing this,” said Eliza Wheeler, project manager for the DOPE program, which trains and equips police with the naloxone kits.
According to Wheeler, approximately 15,000 to 22,000 heroin users in San Francisco have been given shots of naloxone at the right time and were saved from dying. The wonder drug reverses fatal slowdown of the central nervous system and the respiratory system, by allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally.
Naloxone is not an excuse to abuse opioids
Naloxone usually works by disabling the opiate receptors in the body, thereby blocking the effects of heroin. But it should not be considered as a license to abuse the drug. In fact, an increasing number of heroin abusers feel that it is safe to abuse opioids and tend to disregard the importance of seeking professional help to battle addiction. Care should be taken not to confuse naloxone with recovery. The naloxone kit should be treated as the final resort, when everything else seems bleak. Moreover, getting an intravenous or intranasal shot is certainly not a pleasant experience as it immediately flushes out the effects of heroin which could cause instantaneous withdrawal and, in turn, could pose a totally new set of risks.
Since naloxone is given in an emergency situation, generally when the victim is in an unconscious state, paramedics or caregivers may not be aware of any specific health condition or possible ailment which could produce an adverse reaction in the individual. Moreover, they would only focus on saving his or her life. Studies have shown that alcoholics, pregnant women or lactating mothers, and those on other pain relieving medications are vulnerable to the side effects of naloxone.
Breaking free from the cycle of addiction
Law enforcement authorities are making consistent efforts in taking a comprehensive approach to tackle the drug abuse problem, and design measures to eradicate the menace from every nook and corner of the country.
If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction to heroin or any other drugs, seek treatment immediately. The San Francisco Drug Treatment Rehab Center can help you get the best addiction treatment programs and embrace sobriety. You may call at our 24/7 helpline number 415-366-6922 for more information on different treatment options in your vicinity.