Would You Save the Life of Opiate Overdose Victim?

With so many communities across the country trying to make meaningful progress in resolving the opiate epidemic, opioid antagonists, like Narcan have never been more important. The growing need for good samaritans led Dr. Scott Goldberg, director of emergency medical services at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, to conduct a small experiment about the public’s willingness to help out a complete stranger in a life or death situation.

The idea for Opioid Epidemic Challenge Summit and Hack-a-thon, sponsored in September by Massachusetts General Hospital and the GE Foundation was based on measuring the public’s collective altruism. “They placed a dummy on the ground there and asked passers-by if they wanted to learn some lifesaving techniques and participate in the Narcan experiment.”

“Many happily volunteered, eager to help the passed-out dummy, try the lockbox and see if they could administer the Narcan, which came in a simple-to-use nasal spray,” according to the New York Times.

Overwhelmingly, people want to help a person whose life is in peril. “Everyone wants to be able to help,” Dr. Dan Dworkis said, “No one wants to leave their fellow human lying on the street.”

Emergency Responders Take an Average of 1.6 Calls Overdose Calls per Day in Cambridge

“But talking with people not involved in the experiment showed me just how much education remains to be done about Narcan, even in a city in the grip of an opioid crisis,” according to New York Times Insider Katharine Q. Seelye.

Without Narcan, “the death toll in this city of 110,000 — 29 fatalities in 2016, almost double the number from the year before — would have been much higher,” according to the New York Times.

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Read the full article at NYTimes.com

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