Pubdate: Wed, 07 May 2014
Source: Daily Reflector (Greenville, NC)
Copyright: 2014 Daily Reflector
Author: Robert Sharpe


Regarding your May 5 editorial commending the Pitt County Sheriff'=C2=80=C2
Office for being the first law enforcement agency in North Carolina
to equip its officers with the overdose prevention drug Narcan: Nasal
administration of the Narcan reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. 

This harm-reduction approach to a growing prescription drug
abuse problem will save lives.

The drug war is part of the problem. Illegal drug users are reluctant
to seek medical attention in the event of an overdose for fear of
being charged with a crime. Attempting to save the life of a friend
could result in a murder charge. Overzealous drug war enforcement
results in easily preventable deaths.

As of last year, North Carolina has a Good Samaritan law that provides
limited immunity to drug users seeking medical attention in response
to an overdose event. This is a good thing that more people need to
know about. With the introduction of Narcan, Pitt County is now way
ahead of the curve in terms of life-saving harm reduction

Rehabilitation also is confounded by the drug war. Turnout at
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings would be much lower if alcoholism were a
crime pursued with zero tolerance zeal. Eliminating the penalties
associated with illicit drug use would encourage the type of honest
discussion necessary to facilitate rehabilitation and save lives.


policy analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy
Washington, D.C.
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