Friday, December 19, 2014

Learning how to Reverse an Overdose (Excerpt from Back from the Brink: Heroin's Antidote)

Abuse of prescription painkillers, heroin, and other opiodshas spiked over the past decade in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 Americans die every day from drug overdoses. Overdoses now kill more people in the US each year than gunshot wounds or car accidents. The stigma that surrounds drug users has made finding a solution difficult. New England has been hit especially hard by fatal overdoses. In Massachusetts, deaths caused by heroin and other opioids have increased more than 90 percent since 2002. In response, the state has started a pilot program in 2007 aimed at decreasing the number of fatal overdoses. The center piece of the program is a drug called Naloxone, know by its brand name Narcan. It's a nasal spray that can instantly stop an opioid overdose. VICE News went to Massachusetts to see how effective Narcan has been in stopping fatal overdoses, and uncovered the reasons why other states may have been slow to adopt similar life-saving programs. In this piece, VICE NEWS visits parent support group Learn2Cope as Mary Jane McHenry speaks to parents of children with opioid addictions.