August 31st 2013 is national Overdose Awareness Day, a time to commemorate loved ones lost from accidental drug overdose. In North Carolina, drug overdose claims over 1100 lives each year and is on track to surpass motor vehicle fatalities by 2017. The majority of the overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin, Percocet and Fentanyl and almost all are preventable with the proper tools and training. North Carolina recently passed a new law, SB20: 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access law, to reduce premature deaths from overdose.
Submitted by robert_childs on Mon, 05/27/2013 - 7:37pm
The Stigma of Drug Overdose: A Mother’s Story
Denise Cullen has lived through one of the worst tragedies a mother can experience – losing a child. But if there is anything worse than losing a child, it is losing a child to a drug overdose, because grief is accompanied by stigma and blame.
Submitted by robert_childs on Wed, 04/10/2013 - 10:21am
McCrory Signs 911 Good Samaritan/Naloxone Access Bill
On Tuesday, April 9th, Governor McCrory signed Senate Bill 20 (SB20), Good Samaritan Law/Naloxone Access, into law, effective immediately. In an effort to reduce drug overdose fatalities in North Carolina, 911 Good Samaritan law provides limited criminal immunity from prosecution charges for less than one gram of drugs or paraphernalia to people who call 911 to report an overdose. The immunity also applies to underage drinkers who seek help for alcohol poisoning. In North Carolina, more than half of drug overdoses occur in the presence of another person, yet in most cases, witnesses are afraid to call for help for fear of police and criminal repercussions for drug possession. 911 Good Samaritan laws place the importance of human life above arrest for small amounts of drugs in order to encourage overdose witnesses to seek help.
Submitted by robert_childs on Fri, 03/22/2013 - 12:13pm
Prescription Drug Abuse in the Military
by Tessie Castillo, NC Harm Reduction Coalition
Jeremy battled depression and drug addiction for years before his wife’s announcement of her pregnancy jolted him onto the path to recovery. But Jeremy’s battle with prescription painkillers didn’t start with youthful experimentation or covert exchanges with street dealers. He got his drugs from the military.
A Sergeant and combat medic, Jeremy sustained a shoulder injury during his second tour in Afghanistan. A military provider prescribed him Percocet, a strong opiate for pain relief. At first Jeremy used the pills to relieve physical pain, but as the injury healed, he continued to seek out medication to alleviate the emotional pain of combat duty.
Submitted by robert_childs on Thu, 12/13/2012 - 12:06pm
Saving Lives with Simple Solutions by Allison Glasser
Seven years ago, Durham resident Chad Sanders lost his sister, Shelly, to drug overdose. Shelly had been using drugs with a friend in her dorm room when she became unresponsive. Her friend, recently released from jail on parole, did not call 911 for fear that he could be arrested for drug possession. Shelly didn’t make it through the night. Unfortunately, Shelly’s story is far too common. Drug overdose deaths have surpassed automobile deaths as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. In North Carolina, antiquated laws and practices lead to over 1000 preventable overdose deaths each year. It’s time we do something about it.
Submitted by Samantha Korb- ... on Mon, 07/16/2012 - 10:59am
Interview with Graham McKinnon, CEO of Protective Outfitters
Samantha Korb, NCHRC Intern
When I spoke to Graham McKinnon, CEO of Protective Outfitters, I came across with the feeling that there is no one more invested in not only his business, but in his innovative and lifesaving product, the Ampel Probe. “The Ampel Probe is a hand held tool most closely resembling a pair of large pliers and is used to safely pick up materials that could potentially harm the public, like syringes”. Protective Outfitters, the company started by McKinnon, specializes in this tool that helps protect the lives of professionals in a variety of industries, including law enforcement, first responders, forensic teams and many more communities. McKinnon says “the Ampel Probe is a device that customers have stated protect users from sharps injuries and their associated from diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C.”
Submitted by robert_childs on Thu, 04/19/2012 - 12:50pm
Syringe Decriminalization: Diabetics Need Syringes Too
Syringe Decriminalization: Diabetics Need Syringes Too
As a diabetic, not having a clean syringe available for insulin injections is scary. I remember one time when I was visiting my parents and had forgotten to bring a clean syringe. My blood sugar was rising rapidly and I feared I would not be able to get insulin in my body fast enough to stop it from reaching a potentially deadly level. My partner and I frantically searched my car in hopes that somewhere I had stored a used syringe to be properly disposed of later. I was so frustrated that I had the insulin in my hand but without a means to inject the life-saving medication. When we eventually found one, the idea of a used syringe reentering my body felt strange, even if I knew I was the only person who had ever used it. I wondered how difficult it would be to force myself to use a syringe with an unknown history.
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