Naloxone has been vastly praised recently as being a ‘wonder drug’ for saving people’s lives. Whenever a person gets overdosed with opioids, this drug can save their life if it’s injected into the hip. According to the statistics, 96 out of the 564 people who died from opioids between May and October 2017 in Ontario had naloxone administered by emergency responders, bystanders or hospital staff. The data was reported by the Office of the Chief Coroner, and it amounts to 17% of the deaths caused by opioids during that time. So is it really such a wonder drug?
Life Saver or Not?
Indeed, it can’t be denied that naloxone helped save a lot of lives. However, Tara Gomes says that even if we all had naloxone on our hands all the time, it wouldn’t make opioid OD disappear. She works as an epidemiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital and claims that people are trying to get naloxone kits throughout the community. She adds that if you think of the CPR classes and first aid, it’s hard to track down who is trained or not. In the same way, doctors can’t know whether naloxone is really working.
Does It Work All the Time?
This is the actual question people are asking. Jason Benaim works as a paramedic in Toronto. He is not surprised that 17% of the people who died after overdosing on opioids received naloxone. According to him, he arrived plenty of times to a scene, just to find the patient in cardiac arrest, with the needle still in their arm and not breathing. This shows that the naloxone administered 10 minutes after breathing stopped can’t help at all. Benaim underlines that nothing can bring a person back from the dead. At the same time, the paramedics are following the instructions and use naloxone in an attempt to do everything they can to revive the person.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here