Heroin now accounts for 20% of emergency room visits and along with alcohol the great majority of overdose deaths in America. (Indeed, Heroin/opiodes, Alcohol, and benzos with alcohol are pretty much 99% of drug deaths, the other drugs are much much safer than we recognize, morbidity rate wise).
Are we going to be able to stomp out heroin? No. Did the war on (prescription) drugs create the problem with heroin? Of course it did. Do people need to die of an overdose? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
Meet Naloxone Hcl. Naloxone will reverse any heroin overdose and save a shooters life. So tell me: why in the holy fuck of fucks are we not handing the shit out?
Of course any public health policy that immediately saves lives for very little money is exactly the kind of policy that any American politician can safely stand behind.
Beyond that may I point out the expense of emergency room visits is one of such concern and scale that it threatens hospitals solvency as going concerns. Think if we could cut that number in half, knock 10% of emergency room visits off the total. What would that do for the public good in terms of saving hospitals and tax payers a boat load of money now and into the future.
But the ultimate reason, even beyond saving lives is the message it sends to heroin addicts: your government cares about you, and wants to help you get through this rough time in your life. We got your back. And that, that there, is one hell of a powerful message.
When in question, public policy question, ask, "What would love do?", and where no person has harmed another person or their property, dispense with any thought of punishing as caveman shit.
Updated 4/17/14 -
Attorney General Eric Holder spoke yesterday urging first responders to administer Narcan to Heroin overdose victims, and urged the making of Narcan more available.
My hat is off to the AG who seems to be on a bit of a good judgement spree having announced to lessen drug sentences in federal courts.