Overdose is the leading cause of death in the richest country in the world. These deaths are predictable and preventable.
Before I left Canada, I was involvedin a community network that helped prevent overdoses. We had 90 first responders and community members brought together to learn about the signs and symptoms of overdose. We managed to get a grant to put Naloxone overdose kits into the hands of firefighters, first responders and drug users; all were trained to use the life saving Naloxone to interrupt an overdose, buying themselves, their friends or their family member time to get to a hospital.
Now living in the USA I hear that there are 22 opioid overdoses a day in Colorado. It is the leading cause of death here. Today the youngest person to die of an overdose is a 10-year-old boy from Florida who got into some Fentanyl. Naloxone the overdose disruptor is sold for $4,500 for a 2 dose kit in USA. In Canada the cost is $17 for the same kit including needle cleaning equipment and a carrying case.
This blows my mind, how did the one of the richest countries in the world have such little access to education and prevention tools?
When the news covers the issue the discussion is about hiring more police officers and focus on the crime of the drug user, rather than funding prevention and education. It is shocking and ridiculous that a first world country does not implement the four pillars approach to this crisis, that has succeded elsewhere.
Imagine these newly hired police officers trained to respond to overdose; task them with delivering prevention education in the community, and we would have a winning combination of prevention, education, harm reduction and enforcement: the four pillars approach to solving this crisis.
This is not rocket science, this approach works, and has been implemented in Europe and Canada.
Lets wake up America, and include funding for overdose prevention and education and save some American lives.