The governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, declared a health emergency over the rise of heroin and opioid addiction in his state, and broadcast that there would be measures available in order to make overdose reversal medicines much more broadly accessible. The move comes just as many states all over America are reporting staggering increases in the use of heroin. It is a development the Obama administration, just this month, said was a critical public health emergency.
Patrick stated that the state of Massachusetts has an epidemic of opiate abuse so it must be treated as such. He added that over 140 people have died of alleged heroin overdoses just recently in the state, and that heroin overdoses had went up 90 percent between the years of 2000 and 2012. Patrick and his administration are going to allow first responders to be able to both carry and also give the overdose reversal medication naxolone or the official name Narcan, and also will allow the drug to be available inside of pharmacies for anyone who has a fear of a loved one or family member that could overdose.
The governor exclaimed that his administration was going to dedicate an extra $20 million to allow an increase in both treatment and recovery facilities for the public, and also at county jails and also at the state prison level. He said he asked Cheryl Bartlett, the Massachusetts Health Commissioner to also work with him and the Health Council.
Governor Patrick warned about a possible extremely powerful strain of heroin that might be coming to the state. Dealers and suppliers might be cutting the drug, or even mixing it with something else in order to raise potency and therefore end up with bigger profits. They could even be using an artificial substance, such as the powerful painkiller fentanyl. A third option was the drug abusers might be taking heroin at the same time as other drugs, such as prescription drugs.
Because of this, Patrick explained that he was going to temporarily ban any hydrocodone only pain killers that were inside Massachusetts, which he stated definitely created a substantial risk to persons already addicted to any type of opiate and also to the general public.
The United States Attorney General, Eric Holder, explained earlier this month that heroin overdoses had become a health crisis as well and repeated what the Obama administration’s had said about wanting more law enforcement to be trained and prepare emergency personnel to work with naxolone in order to possibly save more lives. Holder said that nearly 20 states and the District of Columbia had already revised their respective laws in order to allow for increased access to naloxone. The drug ends up blocking the effects of most any opiate and reverse effects when an overdose happens and helps reestablish proper breathing.
National attention to the abuses of heroin were highly raised by the case of celebrated actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was discovered dead from a drug overdose inside his New York apartment back in February. An autopsy showed that he died from severe intoxication of a mixture of heroin and other drugs in his body.
Lethal heroin overdoses intensified 45 percent across the U.S. from the years 2006 to 2010, with just under 3,040 deaths being reported and the numbers were thought to have been on the rise back then.
Patrick has declared a health emergency over the rise of heroin and opioid addiction in the state of Massachusetts and has broadcast that there would be measures available in order to make overdose reversal medicines much more broadly accessible. This move has just as numerous states all over America are reporting staggering increases in the use of heroin.
By Kimberly Ruble