A follow up to Mr. Vincent’s post on Narcan
People like to poke holes, I get it. I wanted this to be a discussion, so let’s discuss! Below are some comments I’ve seen in response to David Vincent’s status and our letter to him. (note: I used “narcan” and “naloxone” interchangeably. It’s a matter of name brand versus generic)
“Comparing apples to oranges. Cancer is cellular malfunction. Addiction is a mental disorder. Narcan is a once lifesaving measure to revive. Narcan does not cure addiction.”
-So true! That’s said, going back to Mr. Vincent’s post… Narcan is not treatment. Narcan is a life-saving opiate antagonist which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Not only is it not a cure, but it does not even treat addiction. Comparing narcan to chemo is not a realistic comparison.
“I was even more surprised to see my old roommate from rehab who’s still using post it. Why the self hate?”
-Good question! We have an idea why. Perhaps it’s because despite the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM5), American culture hasn’t caught up with science’s understanding of addiction. This is evident by Mr. Vincent’s status. People with an addiction see posts like that, the comments that follow, and the mass amount of people who devalue their lives. How are people supposed to get help in a society that thinks they are better off dead? Whether Mr. Vincent intend to, he effectively reinforced a negative stigma that prevents PEOPLE from getting healthy.
It’s high past time we acknowledge addiction as a health issue not moral one. It wouldn’t be fair to assume another’s intentions. But I will say reinforcing that stigma could have been avoided. I question why instead of “narcan for addicts” (individual who suffers with a mental health disorder), Mr. Vincent didn’t reference insulin for those who suffer with diabetes. Since neither insulin nor narcan are free, this would have been a fair switch.
“They are giving away narcan at the local methadone clinic in the parking lot”
-Methadone is an opioid. Narcan reverses opioid overdose. (Personally, I think anytime someone is prescribed or being treated with an opioid, they should be taught about the addictive qualities and also be prescribed naloxone.) Also, someone at some point paid for that narcan so it could be given to those who need it.
“point being made is addicts need to be held accountable for their actions ,even when I was using , if I had ever needed it I would expect to be charged for it , I don’t expect anything for myself coming out of someone else’s pockets”
– It is appreciated that you don’t expect anything for yourself to come from someone else’s pocket. However, if it was a matter of your life or death -as is the case when naloxone is needed- know that I would choose your life. Without evening knowing you, from one human to another, I’d pick saving your life. If I had the ability, and the means, such has having a vile of naloxone that I paid for, I’d use it on you. I can’t imagine walking away from you, a human being, knowing I have the power to save your life and just choosing not to.
I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect a little human decency.
As for responsibility, what should they be held responsible for? Being ill? The cost of narcan provided by the police? The police sign up to protect and serve. The police departments we’ve trained to carry and administer naloxone, also carry defribulators, they don’t charge a fee for that life-saving service. Why should naloxone be any different?
Perhaps this isn’t the case with every department, but maybe it should be. And finally, how often do we attend fundraisers for addiction treatment? Is there a three day walk by some well-known foundation traveling around the country raising money for addiction medicine research? Millions of “other” people’s dollars go into cancer research to find a cure. Can we say the same about a cure for addiction?
“Addiction has def [definitely] affected our lives.. but i don’t necessarily agree with narcan. I feel like it makes addicts [individuals who suffer with a mental health disorder] think they can always be saved…which isn’t the case”
People who are addicted to drugs have and will continue to use drug regardless of if naloxone is available. This is obvious by the amount of people who used before narcan was invented and made accessible and also by the amount of overdoses we see.
“Narcan is not free but my brothers life is worth more than a petty $672.80. I thank God for narcan!”
-Perfectly said. A person’s life is worth it.