Letter: Naloxone saves lives

Dear Editor:
After last week’s Rangely Town Council discussion regarding the use of naloxone (brand name Narcan) as an antidote to opioid overdosing, we at Mind Springs Health, who every day work with the impact of addiction, understand naloxone’s benefits and want to voice support of its usage.
It’s no secret that addiction is a major problem for Colorado and western slope areas in particular. The Rio Blanco Herald Times notes drug overdose is the leading cause of unintentional death in Colorado, and overdose deaths between 2000 and 2015 were more than four times the population of Rangely.
Naloxone, when administered to opioid drug users, has proven to reduce the rates of death due to overdose—it saves lives. The recently-released first-ever ‘Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health’ offers a clear conclusion—addiction is a chronic, but treatable, brain disease that requires medical intervention, not moral judgement. That’s why we encourage all first responders, who are charged with protecting not judging others, to understand, support and use its life-saving powers as so many communities do.
Addiction treatment IS available for those who are struggling. Mind Springs Health in both Rangely and Meeker offer individual and group therapy, drug screening and relapse prevention.
It usually takes multiple times for an addict to be accountable for their actions and finally achieve recovery and sobriety. That opportunity should never be taken away. After all, we are talking about our children, parents, siblings, friends and colleagues. We as a community do not need another suicide, intentional or unintentional. Let’s use all we have to fight the problems.
Michelle Huber, Rio Blanco Program Director
Tom Gangel, Regional Director
Mind Springs Health