Pubdate: Sat, 10 Aug 2013
Source: Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC)
Copyright: 2013 Daily Reflector
Author: Diannee Carden Glenn


Any unexpected death is a devastating blow, but losing a loved one to
an accidental drug overdose carries a unique burden - stigma,
whispers, shame and the loss of support from friends and neighbors. I
lost my son Michael to a drug overdose in 2012. Michael was a vibrant,
well educated, working professional. He was in recovery from substance
abuse and proud of where he was in his life, but as with most people
who struggle with drug addiction, he relapsed. My life has never been
the same since.

In North Carolina, approximately 1,100 people pass away annually from
drug overdose. Thankfully, the N.C. Legislature has responded to this
issue with a forward-thinking 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access Law
that went into effect April 9. The law permits bystanders and victims
at the scene of an overdose to call emergency services with limited
immunity from criminal charges, including possession of small amounts
of drugs and paraphernalia. It encourages doctors and bystanders to
prescribe and administer the overdose reversal drug, naloxone, to
people who take opiates (painkillers) by removing the risk of civil
liabilities. Additionally, community programs such as the N.C. Harm
Reduction Coalition are now able to distribute naloxone to people at
risk for overdose and their loved ones under a doctor's standing order.

Some may argue that such laws provide a carte blanche for addicts to
continue engaging in destructive behaviors. However, if a case for
personal responsibility has a place in discussions about drug abuse it
should not be after someone has fallen into respiratory failure and is
minutes away from flat lining. The 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access
law puts lives first. It doesn't take away the consequences of bad
behavior, but allows people to live long enough to learn from them.
Learn about the law. Save a life.


- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt