The Heroin Epidemic is Over!

I have great news. The heroin overdose epidemic is over! I know, I Googled it. The most recent story about it was in May.

At least that’s what the lack of news stories about it would have you believe. I guess the news cycle has cycled onto better things now that the people who bring you the news have whipped the populace into a narcan frenzy, equipped all sorts of people with narcan that will expire and be thrown away, or used incorrectly, or sit in a medicine cabinet somewhere waiting for the chance to do some good.

Sad news that you probably won’t hear anywhere but here-people are still dying from heroin overdoses. All the narcan in all the trunks of all the police cars in all the cities in all the world isn’t going to stop people from going off on their own to get high. It’s the way of the addict. Isolationism is the goal, and a good way to obtain it is at the end of a needle, or now that the dirt is more pure, through the nose.

The only people that I have ever brought back from an overdose were lucky enough to have been found by chance; a set of legs seen under a bathroom stall, a person slumped over the wheel, a man unconscious in a field, that kind of thing. The others? The smell of their dead body alerted neighbors, and the police were called, and they called us, and we would find them, sometimes with the needle still in their arm, alone, blue, and dead.

Doing heroin is not okay, not acceptable and absolutely deadly. Those who insist on getting high will come to an ugly end, either broke, diseased and lonely, or dead. There are no success stories of addiction, no shining light, no example of how it can be done. Some people recover, and great for them, many do not, and may they rest in peace. because the only peace they had while they were here came in  little bags.



  • Mark says:

    I don’t think that is necessarily true. People have friends, family and co-workers who find them all the time in a state of intoxication. This is why giving Narcan to family members is the right thing to do. For the cost of saving a life we sacrifice a small amount of a nearly harmless medicine that may or may not expire before use. We keep lots of tylenol and drugs around the house where kids can find it. I don’t worry about kids finding Narcan and overdosing. I worry about the lives that are lost when no solution is offered. Police officers get called to well being checks all the time as do Fire Fighters, by equipping them with some minimal training and a cheap vial of medicine you save one life at a time. I agree we will not save the majority but even if we save a minority it is worth it on a life and family unit saved basis. A study that would be useful is a calculation of costs of monitors, AEDs and Defibrilators compared to the amount of lives saved. We don’t question that value and I can’t see how Narcan dispersal could be any less valuable to saving lives.

    • Michael Morse says:

      Hi Mark, it’s not the cost in dollars and cents that concerns me, it is the cheapening of the fear of becoming an addict. People need to be afraid-very afraid of doing it, the general concensus that the antidote is readily available will, in my opinion, and it is only that, an opinion, cause more death from accidental overdose than administering narcan one dose at a time will save.

  • Mark says:

    From a public health and social perspective there are multiple declarations of death that have occurred that have nothing to do with suicide by heroin. Many of those were related to heroin and had people who knew something was wrong say that they didn’t know what to do. Education on heroin and an antidote at hand do not encourage people to take narcotics. They already were! The people who are taking heroin are not the ones requesting it. Their families are. You can not hit rock bottom to start recovery if you don’t have a pulse because family or friends did not call 911. Be realistic about who is making the decision to call 911 when someone stops breathing. The Three Strikes Drug laws would make me hesitate to call because our justice system is overly aggressive to drug users and dealers without specificity. Some states are making exceptions currently for the Narcan/Heroin 911 calls by bystanders. A family member who receives education about Narcan who is more than 8 minutes away from an ambulance ( a common situation) will spray some fluid in a nose and potentially save a life. A BVM in untrained hands is only so helpful in my opinion. Narcan does not have any relationship to Heroin(or any narcotic) Initial use or continuing use. That is clear to me because the system itself encourages liberal pain control to get the best outcomes and many people will become addicted despite a social pressure that says “Drugs are Bad” except when they are good. Your closing statements are contradictory. There are shining examples of recovery all over the place and you admit that. It seems like you want to prevent addiction but Narcan is about preventing respiratory cessation from continuing to cardiac arrest and messing up the families lives.

  • Michael Morse says:

    Mark, something to keep in mind; there is a”dose” and an ” overdose.” Family members finding a person out of it have found the person in the state that was sought. Judicious use of narc an just because we can is a problem even with the so called pros. Not the reason I’m annoyed with the medias touting narc an as the miracle cure but figured I’d throw it out there. As for recovery I’m all for it. RI has narc an available at wall greens without prescription and I think it’s great. But keeping the fear of heroin alive and well is better. And just so you know, this blog is kind of my stream of consciousness venting. I actually write columns that require more thought and effort at ems1, ems world and fire engineering.

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