Earlier this morning I completed our Howard County, MD’s Naloxone training and certification class.  If you aren’t familiar with what this is about Naloxone is the opiate receptor blocker nasal spray that is used in case of a person’s overdosing on opiates.

This FAQ is an excellent source of info on the medicine.

It is no secret that every state, and almost every county in our respective states of MD and PA are having huge problems with opioid overdose deaths and they  reverberates through families, communities and across all social strata.

Well, we have the ability to help if that happens where we are and I can’t tell you how many people I know who have either overdosed or have had a family member do so – and so died as a result.  That is because I spend a good amount of time around homeless populations and drug addicts.

That is where I volunteer my time every week and why I finally told myself I have to be ready in case I’m needed to help.

Allegheny County provides the same training – it should be of no cost to you and pharmacies, of the Health Department itself, should provide you with the Naloxone kits you need.

I urge you to consider this training also. There are a lot of rumors surrounding this subject – some really off the wall – but I hope you educate yourself and then take advantage of these needed emergency response tools.

Good Samaritan laws are in effect in every state so that shouldn’t worry you.  I linked PA’s for you.

Thanks for listening…







37 thoughts on “A POV PSA

  1. Couple things here Reed. Firstly, the time and effort as well as the passion you have in helping people who are less fortunate is absolutely amazing. You have served the people of this country your whole life and continue to do so. Thank You for that!

    This topic is very interesting to me and I’m going to stand back and read other opinions on the subject. I really do not understand all that goes into the etiquette of dispensing the Naloxone but I do have some feelings on the idea.

    I’ll hold off for now..


  2. Reed,
    With a couple of our very own Povites ( who will remain unnamed), you having this training may save a few of our commenters lives!
    But. In all sincerity, thank you for caring for those around you. I lost a very close friend about 8 years ago to opioid abuse. He called me on Christmas night (I had moved to another city), and he wished every person in our family a personal merry Christmas – and in the morning his wife called saying he died over night. I drove the 400 miles to conduct the funeral for one of my best friends.
    So thank you Reed from the bottom of my heart.


  3. This is a major problem in the Cleveland area. I have a co-worked in his late 30s that had about 7 or 8 high school classmates that have died of opiate overdoses in the past 2 years.

    But what is really scary is that about two months or so ago, an area policeman was inspecting the a car of someone who had OD’d and accidentally come in contact with some of the substance without realizing it. A short time later at the police station, he started to OD but luckily there were fellow officers around who recognized the symptoms, sprang into action, and saved his life. Yes, if the substance is lethal enough, you can OD without even ingesting or shooting it.


  4. Part of my practice involves treating opiate addicts with Suboxone. Unlike the portrayal on television, these patients come in all shapes and sizes, from all socioeconomic classes.
    A terrible tragedy, made worse by the addition of fentanyl to the mix.


  5. If you guys don’t mind I have a few questions….. but first I also have experience with family and friends who have had to deal with opioid abuse and many that have died. I also worked in a courtroom for a criminal judge and have personally witnessed the revolving door that comes with such addiction. Many people just never get better..

    Do the patients receiving the Narcane ever pay what it cost to have their lives saved?
    Are repeat addicts revived very often?
    Are they ever charged with a crime for having an illegal substance in their systems?

    I truly understand the massive problem with the drugs in this country and how it’s so easy to become addicted. I don’t want to see families lose a loved one from this nationwide problem and that goes for friends as well. I hope these few questions don’t offend anyone, I just struggle with some people receiving the Narcane then walking away while not getting the help they need to not repeat this life threatening practice of taking heroin.

    I’m sure others have some very strong feeling about all this but keeping a lower profile as to not cross to far from sports.

    This topic does walk a fine line considering politics and I don’t want to cross it but we need to lighten up and let people do their jobs and stop the drugs from flowing in from across our borders.


  6. Reed – thanks.

    I don’t know much about addiction. My hope is that there are ways for folks that are addicted to get help with the root causes of the addiction (similar to what Ike says at the end of his third paragraph above). I imagine that there are many root causes including depression and PTSD… You are doing important work, Reed.


  7. By the way, good late pick up by KS. The kid was recruited by some good programs.

    I think he has recruited equal or better than Dixon, however, most are 6-5 and under if I am not mistaken.


  8. Ike, one of the problems is that the primary feeder drug for this addiction comes from across a “counter” not a border. This is a very difficult problem to solve because a “legal” drug leads to an illegal drug. Who will reign in the drug companies, doctors, and pharmacies that are making millions off of the legal side of this equation?


  9. By the way, Pitt has 4 basketball recruits that show as not signed yet. Anyone know when they sign? Has to be soon.


  10. I was getting set to testify for the DA against a roque MD when a detective remarked: “Docs shouldn’t prescribe opiates Ever.”
    I now take care of a cop with metastatic cancer sent to me for pain management.
    So, if we allow him to have opiates for cancer pain, what about for the 90 year old with severe stenosis who has failed all other treatments?
    There is a paper thin line out there in prescribing this stuff.
    And to blame doctors and pharmaceutical companies (who I hate) places blame on only a small part of the problem


    1. as you previously wrote …. all shapes and sizes. I’m old enough to remember when cocaine and heroin were considered only a lower class phenomenon. Of course, this is different as they often begin as legal prescriptions


  11. NotRocket: They were indeed rhetorical questions as I was my trying my best to get my point across without offending anyone.

    HbgFrank: absolutely I agree and the pharmaceutical companies have a some blame but that’s mostly for overcharging people already addicted. (That’s when people move to the cheaper heroin) A bigger problem is the doctors handing the stuff out like jelly bean without discrimination between the needy and addicted. Sure many people NEED this medicine and I dam sure want to receive it when the cancer starts spreading….

    Gasman: that’s an easy one. Not wanting to help people in pain because some people and doctors abuse the drugs shouldn’t be my problem at all.

    See, I knew I would get on a high horse about this and it’s just not that simple…. The problem has become a national pandemic. imo


  12. In the 70s, there was a huge pushback against doctors prescribing pain medicine to patients because of the addictive nature. Many people, including veterans, suffered a lot of pain because of that.
    Then in the 90s, it was decided that we should not let people suffer if we can help it. So there was a push to provide more pain medicine again.
    I do not know the solution. I do not believe people should suffer if it can be helped.
    Ultimately, anyone, whether it is the ceo of a pharmaceutical company, an illegal drug dealer, or anyone in between.. if they knowingly and intentionally take advantage of someone who could suffer because of their actions, they should be punsihed.


  13. I have a nephew who is 36-37 years old who has been an addict in and out of rehab most of his adult life. A couple of years ago his mom, my wife’s sister, was hit and killed by a distracted driver which lead to insurance money , more drugs and 2 overdoses- he was treated and survives until the next time. It is an epidemic totally outa control and crosses all socio-economic lines…makes underage drinking look innocent….


  14. Many cogent thoughts on opiod problem from Gasman and the rest of you. In the six months prior to each knee replacement I could not sleep for an hour due to the pain in my knees and didn’t want to take opiods for fear of addictions. As an ADA I have seen too many people from all walks get addicted to heroin. The opiod runs out and heroin is cheap. I drank a fifth a night at bedtime – a little extreme but I read Keith Richards book every night and felt like a stone.
    Seriously, I am not so sure the rate of addiction is that much higher, though it may be. it seems so because of deaths from overdoses is off the charts which accounts for the ‘opiod crisis’. Much of this is due to drug dealers lacing heroin, or substituting with, fentanyl, carfentanyl and the like. This stuff is deadly, very deadly. I suspect wwb story of the officer had to do with an officer merely touching the stuff. I kid you not, even if in a plastic baggie it will cause an overdose i have just volunteered at work to prosecute Drug Delivery Resulting in Death cases even though it is not in my area and i already have more work than i can handle. Those who sell fentanyl are especially heinous individuals. Much of it comes from China, We need to crush those who sell fentanyl. The only way to do this is through mandatory sentencess though judges hate mandatories. Thus endeth my sermon for the day.


  15. Regardless of the position you take about addiction I don’t believe that the addict needs to be punished on-site for an overdose. We don’t charge for emergency response for heart attacks or any other illness and that is what an addiction is. I know as I spent a lot of time around addicts and I’ve talked to thousands of them.

    If I can help an overdose I will; if I can’t help that person I will try to get them help somewhere else.

    But I can’t play God and make on site moral judgments on people just because they are addicts nor could refuse to take the training that would help these other people in pain and in danger as I’ve known some people to do. My role in life is to help others at every reasonable opportunity I get to do so. I firmly believe that.

    I do not believe we can or should punish people for having an illness, regardless of how that illness started…which these overdoses are results of.

    I myself am on opiates for my back pain… I know my limit and I know the situation that I am in in now and if I had to go cold turkey right now it would be a real problem for me.. and I would probably have to get real help to do so.

    I have tried every alternative to relieve my back pain and nothing else works. My only other option now is surgery and I really hesitate to do that based on the results of people I’ve talked to who have had surgery on their backs.

    BTW Ike, most states will not charge overdose victims with possession nor arrest or charge the people who called 911.


  16. I saw a TV promo on one of the major networks that does a reality show like 48 hours or 20-20. Showed a graphic that the major part of the opioids originate in China then are shipped to Mexico for illegal delivery to the U.S. Promo showed sheriffs and deputies busting on-street sellers. Reporter asked why were they busting the low-level drug dealers and sellers. Sheriffs said that was the way to get someone to turn on a higher-up in the drug dealing hierarchy. Seems like a long haul to try and get a handle on this illegal street stuff. Montgomery County in SW Ohio was featured. Epidemic crisis there. Bravo to Reed for helping all he can and for having the helping outlook that he displays.


  17. I tried to be clear as I could that I believe in saving lives. Certainly if you come upon or are called to assist an overdose, Narcane should be used indiscriminately. I have always just wondered why when it’s provable that a person has injected an illegal substance voluntarily then their lives saved are they not at least brought in for questioning if not an arrest. Getting these people TO help is another way to save their lives.


    1. Ike – it was made very clear during our training on Monday that there would be no legal repercussions involved for the victims or the people who called for help – even if it was in a place of residence and other drugs were visible… but that might just be in Maryland.

      Well, on the other hand I can say from 1st hand experience with the Coast Guard that the attempts to stop illegal drugs from entering the US is just wasted money – and a lot of it.

      All the Federal and State agencies combined stop about 2% of the flow of drugs into our borders.

      It is a real problem on many fronts.


  18. I’m all for tossing them in the slammer…not for punitive reasons, but to separate them from drugs. I’ve spoken to many patients and families and for many, it is the only option.
    Recidivism rates are terrible.
    Rehab and Suboxone are approximately 8% in getting folks clean and sober.


    1. No and I wouldn’t do it anyway. That would be the best way to ensure the other addict with the overdose victim, and there almost always is one, DOESN’T take action to either help or call 911.


  19. I agree with Ike. If saving their lives is the priority – then following up with an investigation/criminal charge should be part of the process. In a lot of cases, that’s the only way, as Gasman mentioned above, to get them away from the drugs and get them started towards truly potentially saving their life.


  20. Taking this a couple steps further and I know there is another great article up on the LB’s, what gets lost is the fact they have come up with this anti-overdose medication. Holy heck that’s really amazing.

    I do have questions in my mind about this sort of catch and release program and YES I do understand the need to save lives as well as the problem with the addicts friends calling for help without repercussions.

    We will all have to wait for some time as this is a fairly new conception as I wouldn’t be surprised if the rules to treatment could change in a few years or less.

    Saving a life is the best thing anyone could ever do in their own lifetime imo.

    That said, we will see how many lives are actually saved at the end of the day. Which is why data is so important in my mind’s eye. I think in too many cases will see that if we don’t create a data base on these poor souls then ultimately are we really doing them a great service. Let’s not forget the suicide aspect of drug abuse/addiction.

    It’s complicated but one thing I’m completely sure off. The people around the Columbia Maryland area are lucky as hell to have Reed living nearby. Not blowing smoke but it’s a privilege to know you Reed… ..ike


  21. Ike:Very few of drug overdoses are suicide. For the addict it is chasing the first high they got, it is all that matters.


  22. With all due respect rkb of course. How do we know that for sure, if you know what I mean. After-all, there is a reason to start such a dangerous habit in the first place…?? If you got a minute take a listen and be depressed..


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