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As opioid overdoses exact a higher price, communities ponder who should be saved

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As municipal budgets buckle under the financial weight of reviving and rehabilitating opioid overdose victims—or burying them—a debate has surfaced over whether that money is well spent.

As municipal budgets buckle under the financial weight of reviving and rehabilitating opioid overdose victims—or burying them—a debate has surfaced over whether that money is well spent. The cost of the overdose-reversal agent naloxone, for example, is high and climbing, leading some communities to consider rationing the drug or limiting the number of times emergency responders can save the same person. "First responders are reaching a new level of frustration responding to multiple calls, for repeated victims, and they just don't feel like they are making progress," says Middletown, OH, Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr., who estimates his city has spent $100,000 on naloxone in just the first half of 2017. "We can't just keep reviving people. We have to address solutions." In addition to possibly trying to prioritize rescue efforts, some believe drug abusers should shoulder the medical costs—especially as multiple doses of antidote are needed to offset increasingly potent street opioids. Even as critics grumble about the cost of helping people who seemingly do not want to help themselves, other bristle at the idea of delegating who is and is not worthy of care.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/as-opioid-overdoses-exact-a-higher-price-communities-ponder-who-should-be-saved/2017/07/15/1ea91890-67f3-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html?utm_term=.60ab1f17c319

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