Giving Narcan to addicts can be counterproductive


Giving Narcan to addicts can be counterproductive

The heroin and fentanyl epidemic continues to grow in Northeast Ohio. The number of opiate drug deaths exceeds traffic- related fatalities. Much is said about drug treatment, but little is said about keeping heroin out of our communities.

As a registered nurse, I appreciate the well-intended efforts to save addicts’ lives by expanding access to Narcan, but that expanded availability does not stop addicts from using heroin or fentanyl. In fact, giving Narcan to heroin addicts invites more and potentially more harmful heroin/fentanyl use.

Emboldened by access to Narcan, addicts continue to take heroin, often in more lethal doses. Some heroin addicts participate in “Lazarus parties”– group heroin use where an addict takes a serious dose of heroin and is subsequently saved (resurrected) with Narcan by another addict.

Providing Narcan to heroin/fentanyl addicts may seem humane, but it is not preventing heroin use or addressing the growing heroin epidemic. In reality, it is only serving to encourage more heroin abuse. There have been reports that heroin dealers are now selling Narcan to heroin addicts along with heroin.

Giving Narcan to addicts is like giving fire extinguishers to pyromaniacs. The only thing assured is more criminal activity.

Certainly, more and better drug intervention treatment is needed to help heroin addicts overcome their drug addiction. But, again, such treatment addresses the drug epidemic from the back end. What about stopping the easy flow of heroin into Northeast Ohio?

The best and most effective way to prevent heroin and fentanyl addiction is to eliminate easy access to those illegal drugs. Unfortunately, when asked, local drug addicts readily say that there is easy local access to heroin and multiple readily accessible drug dealers.

Yet, Ohio has placed its primary attention on post- addiction efforts such as Narcan and treatment. If heroin and fentanyl were less easy to obtain, there would be less need for Narcan or treatment.

We should demand that federal, state, and local governments and law-enforcement agencies take the actions needed to stop the flow of heroin and fentanyl into our communities. Ohio will not continue to be the “overdose capital of the United States” if heroin and fentanyl are not readily available in Ohio.

Judge Diane V. Grendell, Warren

Diane Grendell is a judge on the 11th District Court of Appeals based in Warren.

Blacks should give new President Trump a chance

As an African- American citizen, voter, taxpayer and registered independent from Youngstown and Mahoning County, I, like most African-Americans, did not at all support Donald J. Trump for president. But as an African-American, he will now be my president too, and I truly believe that we all (including African-Americans) need to give our 45th president a chance to “make America great again” regardless of our own political party affiliation or label; or race, creed, color, gender, economic status or religion.

The 2016 presidential election is over. We are all American citizens and one America now (for the next four years) truly cheering for and rooting on for the success of the same team called U.S.A. captained by President Trump.

Even though some Republicans and even Democrats did not give President Obama that very same consideration, decency and common courtesy during his two terms in office, in the White House, I now truly hope and pray that we can all as Americans treat President Trump respectfully.

If President Trump and his administration can “make America great again” by doing what he campaigned on, I know that I and many African-Americans across America would endorse and vote for President Trump happily in 2020 as our president.

These ideas included building the wall, stopping the flow of illegal immigration, rebuilding American inner cities, bringing companies and jobs back to America, fixing Obamacare and rebuilding our infrastructure.

While I would have preferred Hillary Clinton [as America’s first woman] president, I do truly believe that Donald J. Trump, has the potential to be and become a great president of the United States of America. And we as Americans should all give him the chance over these next years to “make America great again.”

Willie James Richards, Youngstown

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