Right now the big news in addiction has to do with the use of Naloxone in overdose situations. Police, Firefighters, and EMS workers are being trained on how to administer this drug in the event of overdose situations.
Naloxone is an opiate blocker. This means that it stops the brain from being able to absorb more of the drug. This only works if the person is overdosing on opiates (pain pills) or heroin. It will stop the overdose process.
For all the loved ones of those still struggling with addiction, I am glad that this is happening. It has the potential to save the lives of many people.
Initially, I only thought about the positive benefits of this, but one of my patients brought it to my attention that there may be some unintended negatives.
At the time, my client was living in a recovery house and his doctor gave him a dose of naloxone to keep in case of an emergency. He was in my office telling me about this, and said that he was scared to tell the staff or other residents that he had this drug because he was afraid that other guys in the recovery house would feel safer using drugs because they would think that because someone had naloxone, they would be okay if they overdosed.
This wouldn’t have occurred to me, but once the client said this I could completely see this kind of scenario happening. This thought process is very representative of addictive thinking.
To the rest of us, this sounds crazy, but addiction doesn’t play by normal rules.
When you’re living this lifestyle everyday then lots of crazy things become normal.
When non-addicted people hear things like this we can’t understand how someone would continue using even though they know it could very likely to kill them.
Here is the message that I want all “the NORMAL people” to understand:
There is no consequence big enough to make an addict stop using drugs, so dealing with this problem through punishment is NOT THE ANSWER!
I still think using Naloxone to save lives is a good thing. My hope is that it will give someone’s child, husband, wife, father, or mother a chance to get help. Addiction does not just destroy lives, it destroys families so if Naloxone provides a glimmer of hope to save lives and families then it can be a very good thing.