Opinion: It’s a ‘Hazard’ to Discount the Proven Benefits of Naloxone

Megan McArdele’s Op-Ed, “The ‘moral hazard’ of naloxone in the opioid crisis,” published in last week’s Washington Post cites a provocative, non peer-reviewed paper that questions the public health benefits of naloxone – a medication used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The Partnership applauds science-based inquiries into public health initiatives to understand their intended and unintended effects, but only when these inquiries are based on a rigorous scientific method free from moral imperatives. It is irresponsible for the paper, and subsequent reporting, to draw conclusions on this data. These opinions ignore existing literature on the benefits of utilizing naloxone as a life-saving medication.  When coupled with follow-up care and family engagement, naloxone can be a critical building block to an extensive, comprehensive recovery plan.

Our President and CEO Fred Muench said, “The article written by economists and the op-ed published in the Washington Post on the use of naloxone as a ‘moral hazard’ makes some sweeping generalizations, adds morality into medical care and does not accurately present all of the data on adding treatment after induction to improve long-term outcomes.”

“Further, it ignored two decades of scientific research and evidence showing the benefits of administering naloxone to save those who overdose on opioids. Imagine the outrage if a similar article questioned the moral hazard of giving insulin to diabetics, due to the increased costs to society associated with treating people with diabetes.”

"Collectively, we need more care, more understanding, more compassion, more access to treatment and long-term care and more proven science-based solutions to effectively turn the tide on this public health issue."

Partnership President, Fred Muench, PhD

Does Having Naloxone in My House Enable My Child to Use Opioids?

It’s understandable to be concerned that naloxone might enable a loved one to continue to use opioids. But there’s no scientific research to support that fact.

Naloxone- International Overdose Awareness Day 2017

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