Vail Daily letter: Anyone can carry naloxone under Colorado law
Editor’s note: This letter is in response to an article titled “Vail Police Department’s Narcan training saves life,” which was published in the Wednesday, May 31, issue of the Vail Daily.
Officer Greg Schwartz, of the Vail Police Department, should be commended for his heroic actions preventing an overdose death. This example demonstrates the life-saving power of naloxone (Narcan) and Good Samaritan laws. Coloradans do not need to be afraid to call for help in overdose emergencies, and equipping police with naloxone so they can intervene effectively in such situations is a critical public-health measure. However, it is also very important to remember that anyone can carry naloxone under Colorado law.
Naloxone is safe and easy to use. Its only purpose is to restore breathing that has dangerously slowed or stopped due to overdose on opioids, such as prescription painkillers or heroin. Peers, friends and loved ones are often already on the scene when overdose occurs — when prepared to administer naloxone, they become the “first responders” who can intervene most promptly when every moment counts. Emergency personnel will take over care once they arrive, but even a brief delay in restoring breathing can lead to brain damage or death.
Coloradans who know someone who is using opioids for any reason should ask their local pharmacist or visit stoptheclockcolorado.org to find a pharmacy where they can get naloxone today without a prescription.
Naloxone is already saving lives in Colorado communities, and more widespread knowledge of its availability is vital. This, along with other evidence-based, cost-effective public-health harm reduction interventions such as sterile syringe access and supervised consumption services, can prevent countless needless deaths.
Amanda Bent, MSW, LSW, MPP
Policy Coordinator, Colorado Drug Policy Alliance, Denver