Saving Lives With Narcan.
We have worked with, and supported programs at, New York Presbyterian Hospital, ranked among the best hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
In 2015, we learned that New York-Presbyterian was outfitting its ambulances with an important, life-saving medicine called naloxone and training their EMTs in its usage. We partnered together with the hospital to partially fund their efforts. Naloxone is a drug which reverses the often-fatal results of an opioid overdose. It is available as a nasal spray under the brand name “Narcan.”
Today, in 2023, in NYC and in many other towns and cities in the U.S., ambulances and police cars carry Narcan. We, along with Weill Cornell Medicine in NYC, have done multiple community Narcan trainings and distributions. Those trainings and distributions have been in schools, businesses, places of worship, food pantries, community housing and other places. We trained an auxiliary police force in NYC to use Narcan. Training takes just minutes.
We would like to see Narcan available to everyone, everywhere, because overdoses can happen to anyone and can occur almost anywhere. And, as Robin says when she speaks about Narcan, overdose deaths are preventable.
Narcan does not treat opioid misuse or addiction. It treats opioid overdoses. It offers a second chance, a chance for someone who has overdosed to live and get treatment. As Robin's husband likes to say, where there is life there's hope. And Narcan does just that.
There were more than 100,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 20212 The majority from opioids. All or most of those opioid overdose deaths could have been prevented, had Narcan been administered. The link below is to information about naloxone:
In early 2023, the F.D.A. approved Narcan for over-the counter-sale. That will help save even more lives.
Breaking Down Stigma
All too often, stigma shames people with substance misuse disorders. They and their families hide, and they don't seek help and treatment, risking their lives. This is a tragic part of this illness. If one were diagnosed with cancer, one would openly and aggressively seek and receive treatment. Sadly, we aren't there yet with substance misuse. Things are improving, but we have a long way to go.
We have tried to put a face on this health issue, so that everyone can see this can happen -- and it can happen to us.
We also learned that there is a serious problem with stigma in the medical profession. We have supported programs to combat that, as it can be a hindrance to those with substance use disorders from getting the treatment they need. The link below is to a video addressing that:
The benefits of giving second changes accrues not just to those who get them -- but also to the communities that all of us call home.