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Obama Administration Urges Cops To Help Save Lives By Treating Heroin Overdoses

(ThinkProgress) On Tuesday, the Obama administration encouraged law enforcement officials across the country to start carrying naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses from heroin and prescription pain killers. Naloxone helps an individual remain breathing even after they’ve introduced a high level of opioids to their system.
Naloxone has been used in emergency departments for years. But since police officers are often the first on the scene when an individual is overdosing, equipping them with naloxone can be a critical method of expanding early access to the lifesaving prescription drug. Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, first began calling for the widespread use of the overdose reversal drug back in 2012.
On a conference call on Tuesday, Kerlikowske reiterated that position — and noted that combating the rise of drug overdose deaths requires a serious public health response, not necessarily a criminal justice crackdown. “We cannot arrest our way out of the drug problem,” Kerlikowske explained. “Drug addiction is a disease of the brain — a disease that can be prevented, treated, and from which one can recover.”
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