Tag Archives: Overdose

It Is Unethical and Inhumane To Withhold Narcan (Naloxone)

A stigma against people who abuse substances exists. Most often it is subtle, but now and then it is loud and ugly. Sheriff Richard Jones in Butler County, Ohio said that he will not equip his deputies with Narcan. "My officers don't carry Narcan, nor will they". He will change his position only if he is court ordered to begin carrying Narcan. Also in Ohio, Dan Picard, Councilman from Middletown, proposed a two strikes and you're out policy. He suggested that the council explore the possibility of denying emergency medical services to people who have sought overdose intervention twice before. Listen in to this group of addicts share their opinions on the matter.

Discussion Guide:

Have you overdosed? If so, were you revived with Narcan? How would you describe the benefits of Narcan to someone who is not familiar with it?

Have you experienced a stigma as a result of having a drug dependency? Please describe it.

If you, a close friend or a family member were denied Narcan and died as a consequence, what steps would you take to seek justice? And what steps would you take to ensure it doesn't happen again?

What are the underlying values of people who would withhold Narcan?

As the costs associated with overdoses increases, how do you think communities or the overdose patients should pay for it?

Some people think that withholding emergency medical response to overdose patients is manslaughter and premeditated murder. Do you agree or disagree?

Supplemental Reading:

Nick Wing, Sheriff In Heart of Ohio's Opioid Epdemic Refuses to Carry Overdose Reversal Drug, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/richard-jones-butler-county_us_595fb129e4b02e9bdb0c3b78

Corky Siemaszko, Ohio Councilman Sparks Fury After Asking If EMS Can Stop Responding to Overdoses, http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/ohio-councilman-sparks-fury-after-asking-if-ems-can-stop-n778711

Overdose: Condolences to One Of Our Group Members Who Lost a Family Member

By now, everyone is knowledgable about the high number of opioid overdose deaths and what public health officials are calling an epidemic. In spite of public awareness and prevention efforts, the death toll continues. In this podcast, one of our group members shares his experience of the recent death of his family member from overdose. Listen in to these group members as they offer support.

Discussion Guide:

Have you lost a family member or friend to opiate overdose?

How did it affect you?

Did you have any negative automatic thoughts?

What are alternate healthier thoughts?

What could have been done differently for the person who died, prior to the overdose?

What can be done for you?

Supplemental Reading:

SAMHSA Behavioral Treatment Services Locator, https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit, http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4742/Overdose_Toolkit.pdf

Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test, https://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Overdose-Awareness-and-Use-of-Naloxone-Test.pdf

SCARE ME, https://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SCARE-ME.pdf

Warning: New Opioid Related Memory Loss Syndrome

Public health officials in Massachusetts recognize a new opioid related "reportable disease" called CHIAS (complete hippocampal ischemic amnestic syndrome). The CDC published a paper on 14 cases of memory loss from damage to the hippocampus. There are lots of theories on the relationship between opioids and the damaged brain. Listen in to this recovery support group as they discuss this topic. 

Discussion Guide:

Have you, as someone who has abused opiates, experienced any mysterious illnesses? 

Have you had experienced episodes of amnesia? 

What is your theory of why someone would develop this disease?

1. Opiates contaminated with a toxin?

2. Genetic predisposition that makes them sensitive to something in the drug?

3. Repeated use of fentanyl which causes respiratory depression, which could weaken the hippocampal neurons over time?

4. Loss of oxygen from overdose, which could damage the hippocampal cells, leaving the rest of the brain unscathed. 

5. The consequence of exposing the brain to opioids, again and again?

Supplemental Reading:

Azeen Ghorayshi, The Fourteen Who Forgot, https://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/the-addicts-who-forgot?utm_term=.ygEE4Mbny#.lgQKo0G6N

Public Policy: Which Approach Is Most Effective To Stop the Opioid Epidemic?

It is clear that the US is facing an opiate epidemic in which an average of 91 opioid-related deaths occur each day. It is not clear how to best stop the epidemic. In this podcast, we discuss three different approaches to this problem. Listen to this group of people who have been addicted to opiates give their opinions of which approach works, and which cause more harm.  

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with Gloucester's Angel Program in Massachusetts? Instead of being arrested, drug dependent people can present themselves to the police and get help. Do you think this is a good idea? What are the pros and cons?

There is a town in Fayetteville County, Ohio who charge overdose survivors with a misdemeanor after they have saved their lives with naloxone. Do you think this is an effective strategy to decrease deaths? What are the pros and cons?

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at an opioid awareness summit in New Hampshire. He said that the "Just Say No" campaign and D.A.R.E. curriculum were effective. However, this is not supported by research. Sessions thinks drug prevention and education is an effective way to stem the opioid epidemic.  Do you believe education alone is effective?

Which approach do you think is the most effective? What do you recommend?

Supplemental Reading:

Terry Weber, Gloucester's Angel Program Helps 260 in Four Months, http://gloucester.wickedlocal.com/article/20151030/NEWS/151039478

Philip Marcelo, Researchers: Gloucester's Angel Program Helped Nearly 400 Drug Addicts, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/731169b9ace54d808b53df2acc160b86/researchers-nearly-400-drug-addicts-helped-police-effort

Kelly Burch, Ohio Town To Criminally Charge Overdose Survivors, http://www.thefix.com/ohio-town-criminally-charge-overdose-survivors

Britni de la Cretaz, AG Jeff Sessions Talks Addiction Crisis At Awareness Summit, http://www.thefix.com/ag-jeff-sessions-talks-addiction-crisis-awareness-summit

Why Isn’t Narcan More Easily Accessed?

Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can be a life saver for someone who has overdosed from an opiate. Given the high number of overdose deaths, lawmakers created a path to make Narcan readily available at pharmacies. For example, California passed a bill that allowed pharmacists to dispense Narcan to people who may be at risk of overdose including their family members and friends. A prescription is not necessary provided the pharmacist completes an hour of training, agrees to train the recipient in its use, briefly mentions drug treatment options, and notifies the recipient's primary care physician. But, the problem is that even two years later, the pharmacies haven't followed through on the plan. It is not available. Listen in to an opiate recovery support group discuss this issue.

Discussion Guide:

Do you have Narcan? Where did you get it? Did your health insurance help pay for it?

Can you get Narcan from your local pharmacy?

What factors do you believe have prevented pharmacies from offering Narcan?

What are your state regulations on accessing Narcan?

I encourage you to contact your local pharmacy to ask if they distribute Narcan, if you need a prescription, and what the cost is.

Supplemental Reading:

Jonathon Sobotor, We Don't Do Narcan Here, http://www.thefix.com/california-overdose-law-two-years-later-narcan-still-scarce

Doctor Indicted for an Overdose Death

Generally speaking, an overdose victim is largely held responsible for the behavior that led to their death. But sometimes people who die by drug overdose are assisted by others. It is an especially sad incident when health care providers contribute to the deaths of their patients. In this podcast we discuss the death of Matthew Roberts, guitarist of 3 Doors Down, at the hands of his doctor, Richard Snellgrove. Where did the doctor go wrong? Listen in.

Discussion Guide:

Matthew Roberts died of a drug overdose on Aug. 20, 2016 and his doctor, Dr. Richard Snellgrove, has been indicted for unlawfully prescribing medication.

What could go wrong with prescribing Fentanyl, Hydroodone and Xanax?

What could go wrong by prescribing a controlled substance for no known medical purpose?

What could go wrong with prescribing medication to other people, knowing that they were intended for Matthew Roberts?

What could go wrong with having a close and personal relationship with your doctor who provides after-hour appointments?

What could go wrong with a doctor who is described as a "celebrity junkie"?

What could go wrong with a doctor prescribing medication to patients that he has not seen in person?

What could go wrong with writing a prescription to a second party because the insurance won't cover the medication for the first party?

Have you had any of these experiences?

Supplemental Reading:

Britni de la Cretaz, Doctor Indicted for 3 Doors Down Co-Founder Matthew Roberts' Fatal Overdose http://www.thefix.com/doctor-indicted-3-doors-down-co-founder-matthew-roberts-fatal-overdose


International Overdose Awareness Day

August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day. It is a global event held each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. Listen to a group of opiate addicts talk about their experiences with drug overdose and prevention.

Discussion Guide:

Have you experienced a drug overdose?

How many people have you known that have overdosed?

How many of those people died as a result of a drug overdose?

If you were to write a tribute to your family and friends who have died, would you share it without guilt or shame? Or, would the stigma against addiction prevent you from sharing it?

What advise would you give others for drug safety and overdose prevention?


David Konow, Heath Ledger’s Family Recall His Tragic Accidental Overdose, https://www.thefix.com/heath-ledgers-family-recall-his-tragic-accidental-overdose

August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day, http://www.overdoseday.com/

Paul Gaia, Fentanyl Patches Are More Dangerous in Hot Weather, https://www.thefix.com/fentanyl-patches-are-more-dangerous-hot-weather

Get the Overdose Aware App: http://www.overdoseday.com/resources/overdose-aware-app-2/

Narcan Administration Training

We recently learned of the deaths of two people whom we knew and loved, from heroin overdoses. Opioid overdose happens too often. Narcan, also known as Naloxone, can reverse the effects of an overdose of heroin or some types of painkillers. Paramedics and emergency room doctors have used it for years to save lives. We recommend that you have it available in the case of an overdose emergency for yourself, your family member or a friend who takes opiates. Speak to your doctor to access Narcan.  A kit that contains an injectable form of Naloxone or a nasal spray version is available for use. This podcast features a training session on how to respond to an overdose. Before listening to the podcast, please download and complete the Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test. Then download SCARE ME. Use these forms to follow the discussion.

Today’s podcast is dedicated to these two people and their families.


Supplemental Materials:



Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test
SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit