The old fart’s top news story today is about the overdose demand for emergency health response in the midst of a Coronavirus outbreak. You see, there were already arguments surrounding the opiod overdose epidemic, with some saying that drug overdose is a life and death situation and therefore must be a priority, while others asked why their loved one’s needs should come second to someone who voluntarily put themselves at extreme risk. Which life is more important? Of course both are, yet there are only so many resources to go around, so people who’ve never used drugs are dying because of people who do.
Drug Overdose Is A Life And Death Situation
Now, to the best of my knowledge, one of the central tenets of harm reduction taught to addicts is to use around others, so if anything goes wrong help is at hand, or at least there’s someone to call for help. In fact, one of the first things they tell you in any recovery program is “don’t isolate” because people who use drugs alone, without a friend to monitor them, are at a much higher risk of fatally overdosing. So what do addicts do when they’re required to socially isolate? What will the death toll of users end up being once the latest fear has run its course?
Overdoses One More Complication
For first responders, overdoses are just one more complication that the Coronavirus pandemic has dropped in their laps as they try to those in need. As if they didn’t have enough on their plates! And for addicts, things went form bad to worse as injection sites are seeing long lines despite fears of infection. Support group meetings have been canceled, and support networks have been fractured, so some of the most vulnerable people on the planet are left alone and at risk due the Coronavirus crisis.
Cancelled Support Groups And Networks
Experts advise those with addiction issues to make sure that they have naloxone supplies on hand in the event of an overdose, that they have and use fentanyl testing strips, and advise users to inject the drugs slowly, a little at a time to test their potency, since emergency services might be strapped dealing with COVID-19 cases. Though harm reduction organizations around the world have issued tip sheets for drug users on how to stay safe, there’s little more that can be done because so many health related resources are being diverted to the viral pandemic.
Resources Stretched To Breaking Point
Now this old fart hopes that first responder and emergency medicine resources don’t get stretched to the breaking point, though it sure seems that point grows nearer by the day. I also hope that if the latest crisis teaches us nothing else, it teaches us just how incredibly valuable and vulnerable our emergency and health care personnel are, motivating us to financially increase their compensation to be more in line with their societal worth. For it’s time to revisit the way that a great many ways things are done, because this sure as heck won’t be the last darn crisis under the sun.
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