Narcan is greatest good for so many
If you had the medication available to save a loved one or even a random stranger from a chronic life-threatening illness, would you administer it? Now, what if I asked you that same question, but the chronic illness being opioid addiction and that medication being naloxone; would you still administer it?
Naloxone, or better known as Narcan, is an antidote for the effects of an opioid overdose. The common argument is that Narcan enables addicts to continue the use of opioids because they know it is now not a death sentence. It is true people are suffering from addiction who overdose more than once and depend on the use of Narcan frequently. However, it is important to remember we are discussing life and death. Addiction takes over the body and causes those suffering to make irrational decisions. Simply put, without Narcan, there will be more deaths.
We are suffering from an epidemic within the pandemic — the opioid epidemic. Should we look at a drug addict facing death and think we must conserve our Narcan resources? Where does this stop? Do we conserve our oxygen resources to a person who has been a lifetime smoker? Do we conserve insulin for people suffering Type II diabetes if they made poor diet choices? Do we not treat someone undergoing a stroke because they have a past of alcoholism putting them at an increased risk for a stroke?
The truth is that cigarette smoker, diabetic or alcoholic are all human beings. They are all either mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, etc. The same goes for those suffering from opioid addiction. To look at a human and have his / her life choices depend on if you are willing to save their life is absurd. We need to focus on the opportunities to prevent addiction (such as educating the youth, teaching healthy coping skills and reducing the amount of prescribed scheduled medications), and by offering more pathways to help those suffering from addiction to recover. We must look at this issue with an utilitarian perspective — the greatest good for the greatest number. The choice is simple: Narcan gives people a second chance at life. Let’s save some lives.