Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske Calls for Expanding Access to Naloxone

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TIME's Maia Szalavitz reports that Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has endorsed wider access to the anti-overdose drug naloxone

Speaking on Wednesday at a North Carolina overdose-prevention program, the Obama administration's drug czar Gil Kerlikowske called for increased action to prevent drug overdose deaths. Notably, Kerlikowske urged wider distribution of a medication called naloxone, an antidote to overdoses of opioid drugs, including prescription pain relievers and heroin, saying that "naloxone can be expanded beyond public health officials."

Currently, naloxone is available only by prescription and is otherwise accessed easily only by health professionals and some law enforcement officers. Kerlikowske's comments mark the first time the drug czar — who is more formally known as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy — has voiced support for broadening access to naloxone by addicted people, pain patients and their families. On Wednesday, he spoke with officials and others involved with Project Lazarus, a North Carolina program that pioneered wider distribution of the medication and is seen as a model prevention program for its comprehensive approach to fighting overdose and prescription drug misuse.

"As valuable as naloxone is, it's only a small piece of the broad spectrum of drug use prevention," Kerlikowske stressed, adding, "We're very serious about removing the legal impediments that can mean the difference between life and death. The odds of surviving an overdose, much like the odds of surviving a heart attack, really depend on how quickly the victim receives treatment."

As Szalavitz reported earlier this year, the FDA is already considering making naloxone available over the counter. Kerlikowske may not be leading the charge on this, but at least he's not fighting the flow. Reason on the usefulness of naloxone

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  1. wow. from that statist piece of human refuse, cop-o-crat extraordinaire KERLIKOWSKE!!!!

    ???

    wow. hey, even a shithead like him can be correct on something

    imo, cops should carry narcan, just like we carry defibs.

    and it should be available over the counter.

    most overdoses are witnessed, and a rapid response with narcan can and will make all the difference

    god, i am tired of responding to OD’s. most live, but i have seen SO much tragedy with opioid releated deaths and in many of those cases, if the od’ers buddy had narcan, they could have saved a life

    and of course the anti-drug warriors will make similar arguments to those they make against needles – if we allow them over the counter, it will just incentivize people to shoot up. kind of reminds me of the condom arguments as well

    here in WA (hint: yet again, we are better. suck it cali) needles are OTC.

    it may be true, but i have seen no evidence that liberalizing access to pins increases illicit drug usage. EVEN IF IT DID, i’d still say it’s the right thing to do, but i don’t believe it does

    i think this is an issue we can all get behind.

    and giving narcan when it’s NOT needed is relatively harmless. it’s not going to kill the guy

    NARCAN OTC!!!

    1. NARCAN OTC!!!

      I can’t wait for the TV comercials.

    2. Speaking of needles, look at the Baby Boomer stats on Hepatitis C.

      It is mostly spread through needles, some from tattoos and a few from transfusions. I live in a state where not only can’t you buy a needle, but you can be charged with a 4th degree felony for possessing one, which, IIRC, has a max of 18 months in state prison.

      The costs of HCV are enormous. It is the leading cause of liver failure and the number one reason for transplant, not to mention that the treatments for chronic HCV are in the tens of thousands of dollars range with cure rates between 60-80%, and many people do not complete the treatments due to the harsh side effects. And, of course, most HCV cases are treated in community healthcare clinics where taxpayers bear the bulk of the costs.

      Yeah, the state really fucked up with the syringe laws.

  2. Meanwhile, Iowa City has decided that 18-20 year olds drinking is such a problem that they’re gonna charge people $1000 to say “come back with a warrant”.

    Currently it’s handled with a criminal complaint, but occupants ? typically college students ? are increasingly refusing to open the door for officers, city officials said.

    In those situations, a search warrant would be necessary to get inside, but that could take a couple of hours, if it’s successful, and police Chief Sam Hargadine said that wasn’t a good use of his officers’ time.

    1. when we do our multi-agency party patrol, our policy is – given PC, we will ALWAYS get a warrant when refused entry.

      this has resulted (no surprise) with word being spread that ‘hey cops will get a warrant”

      remember, given the offense we have the right to investigate and cite (and we are more likely to issue a warning if cooperation is given and more likely to issue a cite given lack of cooperation), it’s just that we need a warrant

      fair enough

      last time i did party patrol, i’d say maybe 9/10 gave permission to enter. we had to get two warrant over the course of the evening. with in-car fax etc. machines, it wasn’t MUCH of a hassle

      granted, this was a detail SPECIFICALLY for “party patrol”, so it WAS a good use of our time, since it was what (and solely) what we were supposed to be doing. it’s what the money was used for

      and no, no dogs were shot or no knock raids were needed.

      1. The fact that you do “party patrols” for reasons other than giving away free shit is pretty gay. It being a “multi-agency” thing is also pretty gay.

        1. hey, we are a metro agency, thus we embrace our metrosexuality.

          considering that every year around graduation time, we would get the inevitable heinous drunken teenage death/carnage/alcohol related collisions, i think party patrols are a good idea. and while the data is hardly voluminous, i think it’s strongly suggestive that the party patrols have decreased the alcohol/teen carnage around graduation time.

          our state is much more strongly respective of privacy than most, thus (for example), we don’t do DUI roadblocks.

          going to the “source”, the “juvenile drinking party” is imo a valuable tool to decrease the carnage

          personally, i think the drinking age should be 18 (at most) but i also think DUI laws should be stiffer and the investigative powers for same should be stronger.

          but i work within the system we have

          cheers

          1. but i also think DUI laws should be stiffer and the investigative powers for same should be stronger.

            Then move to Texas. We have roadblocks here where a cop with less training than a normal plebotomist forcibly draws your blood on the side of the road. You’d love it here.

            1. except that’s not what i want.

              try to spare me the strawmen crap.

              i think the penalties should be stiffer. and i think that with every refusal, there should be an automatic streamlined warrant application.

              i do NOT believe in roadblocks.

              1. Except you said the laws, not the penalties. That’s why Coeus responded to you.

      2. remember, given the offense we have the right to investigate and cite (and we are more likely to issue a warning if cooperation is given and more likely to issue a cite given lack of cooperation), it’s just that we need a warrant

        Do not take this as advice. I have never seen a person, -ever- get a a less severe MIP or contributing charge for cooperating at a party.

        Unless you live on dunphy’s patrol beat, then I guess you have a marginally higher than 0 chance of getting a less severe punishment for cooperating, providing he’s the one who gets sent.

        1. my experience is WAY WAY WAY more diverse than yours. i don’t care what you think, ime and imo for minor offenses like MIP, you are WAY WAY WAY more likely to be cut a break if you cooperate.

          i KNOW the guy is MIP the second i smell alcohol on his breath. and at least around here, that’s enough to cite.

          the person’s level of honesty and cooperation is strongly predictive of whether they get a warning or a ticket.

          and that was true when i was in college and played in a band. we were cool with the cops, we showed respect, and we got the same in return

          ymmv

          1. Does anyone here besides dunphy have a minor cooperating with the cops getting a lesser offense involving alcohol since the rise of MADD? Anyone?

    2. That law would last about a half second on any kind of constitutional scrutiny.

      1. *a half second on under

        1. agreed. you can’t legislate a punishment for an assertion of a constitutional right

          that’s like con law 101.

  3. As Szalavitz reported earlier this year, the FDA is already considering making naloxone available over the counter. Kerlikowske may not be leading the charge on this, but at least he’s not fighting the flow.

    Since naloxone kills the high, making it more widely available would be perfectly in keeping with the reason someone educated in history, drug usage and effects would support still prohibition.

    1. yea, in regards to killing the high… dopers wake up (from the dead, or at LEAST the “nod) exceptionally pissed off.

      all they know is some paramedic looking dude is standing over them or kneeling by them, and they feel like they have full blown flu.

      paramedics know to be on guard, because it’s not unheard of for the doper to wake up in a fist-fighting mood.

      when i worked UC, my two cover officers were issued narcan in case i was forced to use and needed it asap.

  4. I’ll care about this as soon as I can get oxy and other narcs over the counter, any time I want.

    1. With known purity and dosage you probably wouldn’t need it. Unless you were particularly sensitive and/or stupid.

      1. People manage to kill themselves with alcohol, I’m sure they woulds till manage with legal heroin.

  5. If this had been available five years ago my nephew might still be alive.

    … Hobbit

  6. sorry to hear that, man

    the opioid shit is getting way out of control where i work. OD’s are skyrocketing.

    these people are not criminals. they are addicted to (in most cases) a drug that has been in use since the dawn of history. it’s a drug we have receptors for in our body, and a drug we produce ourselves (endorphin = ENDOgenous MORPHINe)

    people are going to use. no way around it. might as well vastly improve their chances of survival if they get a hot shot or go overboard.

  7. Any good dealer or event promoter should have this stuff around to help cover their ass.

  8. That word, “Czar”…it’s infuriating that it’s used in America. Fitting and descriptive, but infuriating none-the-less.

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