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Cops Should Carry Naloxone to Treat Heroin Overdoses

Update Date: Feb 12, 2014 03:34 PM EST

Heroin use has been increasingly popular over the past few years. Just over a week ago, American actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman shocked the word when he died of a heroin overdose. Due to the rise in deaths cause by the drug, Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy has suggested that policemen might need to carry an "antidote" with them. The antidote is naloxone, which is a drug that can counteract the effects of a heroin overdose. The drug could potentially save a lot of people's lives.

"The use of opioids -- a group of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers -- is having a devastating impact on public health and safety in communities across the nation," Kerlikowske said according to Philly. "In 2010, approximately 100 Americans died from overdoses every day,"

In order to lower the mortality rate tied to opioids, the government has started to increase their efforts in cracking own on "pill mills" as well as doctors who tend to over-prescribe painkillers. On top of these efforts, several programs were started to educate people about the dangers of abusing opioids. Despite these efforts, Kerlikowske reported that more needs to be done.

"It is clear we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem. Science has shown that drug addiction is a disease of the brain -- a disease that can be prevented, treated and from which one can recover," Kerlikowske said. "Saving a life is more important than making an arrest."

Instead of creating more and more programs that lose effectiveness once people become addicted to the drugs, Kerliowske stated that wider use of naloxone could help keep the death rates from rising. If first responders, such as police and EMTs (emergency medical technician), carried the drug, they could end up saving more lives. These people can then enter rehabilitation centers and start their lives over without these deadly drugs.

Currently, the legislators in New York have proposed a bill that would give a trained individual permission to use naloxone on someone who is at risk of an overdose.

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