At around 4pm Thursday in Lincoln City, Sheriff’s Deputy Zach Akin pulled a driver over for a minor traffic violation near East Devils Lake Road and Oar Street.
While talking with the driver, Deputy Akin noticed a young male passenger in the back seat showing signs of a drug overdose. Moments later the passenger went unconscious.
Deputy Akins immediately pulled out a bottle of Narcan nasal spray which reverses severe, life-threatening overdoses. After administering the spray the male slowly regained consciousness. He was quickly transported to North Lincoln Hospital for further treatment of his overdose.
Another life saved thanks to Deputy Akins. None the less, the addictive powers of opioids are taking the lives of nearly 200 people a day in this country. That’s like an airliner crash every day. And it shows no signs of abating other than through quick action by law enforcement and paramedics in the field armed with Narcan spray.
Meanwhile pharmaceutical manufacturers have raised their prices for Narcan spray and related products from $40 a dose, to $150, to $690 and recently $4,500. The manufacturers have agreed to discounts in some cases for government and medical services along with fire and police departments, but higher prices from other sales outlets remain. Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said recently “It is unconscionable that any company is willing to put peoples’ lives at risk for obscenely high profits.”
The U.S. Senate recently asked the federal government to urge other pharmaceutical manufacturers to enter the market to bring down prices of Narcan-like products, or, failing that, to encourage international imports of the spray from foreign manufacturers. The death toll from opioids is rising rapidly. 65,000 people died in 2016 and the rate shows no sign of slowing down.
Meanwhile, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has ordered a 25% reduction in U.S. opioid production, including Oxycontin and Fentanyl. Unfortunately black market opioids continue to pour into the U.S. from countries around the world. One of the biggest sources is China.