Dear Regina,

This comment appeared on the JEMS Facebook  page in response to my blog post and subsequent commentary there concerning the media’s coverage of the spike in accidental overdose deaths this year:

Regina Littel KoeppelMy son just OD on Heroin. I live In beautiful neighborhood & home. My children went to best private schools and r wonderful ppl. I’m
An Emergency Nurse specialist Certified critical care & Flight Nurse. The kid with him called my daughter to say Nick was dying. I ran to where he was in cardiac arrest. I started CPR until ambulance came. He made it fine thank God. Narcan has saved 40 lives in NJ alone this year. AED, all well needed, CAN NOT compare to the life saving drugthat reverses heroin that is scourge invading ALL of our towns. Plus ALL 1ST responders police & BLS Ambulances have AEDS on Board So why not Narcan ?!! Addiction to alcohol & drugs is a Medical disease as is high Blood Pressure Diabetes Ect. Many ppl with mental illnesses & Depression medicate themselves with drugs & alcohol. Unless you’ve felt with the devastion this has on our families who pay millions in tax payers $ than u should shut u ignorant hole

narcan

Albeit, my article was flippant, but this takes the cake! A few points

1-wonderful people do not overdose on heroin. Wonderful people who are troubled might

2-a swimming pool full of narcan will not reverse cardiac arrest

3. rescue breathing and/or a bag valve mask works wonders on people who have overdosed

4. Doing CPR on a person in respiratory arrest doesn’t help very much

5-Addiction is a medical disease. It is not the same as high blood pressure or diabetes however

6-People who do not live in beautiful neighborhoods and homes or pay millions in tax dollars do not have to shut their ignorant holes. And we have wonderful children too

All the beautiful homes and millions in tax dollars will not keep people with the inherant disease of addiction clean and sober. A safety net of widely distributed narcan will save lives, but the illusion of safety and condoning of destructive behavior by providing a seemingly benign antidote will cost more lives than it saves. The more coverage that an “antidote” to heroin overdose receives the more socially acceptable the behavior that caused the overdose becomes.

 

7 Comments

  • Brian Trotta says:

    “Unless you’ve felt the devastation… shut u ignorant hole”? Really? Did she not read the part about you being an urban paramedic? I can’t count the number of saves, codes, and pronouncements I’ve done due to heroin in the last 10 years any more. It’s just too many, and way too depressing. I watch respectable people and derelict alike do the slow spiral down the drain that is heroin abuse. And I tell them all the same thing. Heroin has only one outcome. Death. Sometimes it’s quick and painless, because some uncut stuff accidentally hit the streets. But usually it’s a death by a thousand tiny lacerations. You’re dying, but you don’t realize it until it’s too late. And then I’m left to tell the one person left in that addict’s life that they’re gone. And then I pick up my equipment from the barren, Roach-infested apartment, sit in my rig and wonder how someone gets to that point. How someone could care about nothing but when their next fix was coming. And why I try so hard to save people who won’t try to save themselves. Feel the devastation? Yeah lady, I feel it And I’ve felt it for a lot longer than you.

  • Regina Koeppel says:

    Heroin is rampant Ignorance like yours no nothing
    About addiction as a disease. My pint is Addiction
    Can affect anyone who is predisposed
    And according to medical diagnosis.. Yes it is
    A disease like any other disease but is treated
    According to symptoms. Many ppl with
    Mental disease, which yes is also a disease, medicate
    Their symptoms OF depression and anxiety
    With drugs or alcohol.. Alcohol being the more
    Socially acceptable. 1 out of every 4 ppl have
    Someone they love dealing with addiction
    It affects EVERY Socioeconomic Spectrum
    CPR Does save those i
    Who OD on Heroin and to say otherwise is
    Just plain stupid. Those in respiratory arrest
    Need rescue breathing until a BMV
    Is available which took awhile foe my
    Son. I did rescue breathing and saved
    His life. Many ppl have tremendous difficulty
    Getting sober and staying sober
    Addiction is heriditary and although I had a more
    Than perfect life of stellar career Gr8 home children
    Friends and family I feel into the viscous
    Grips of addiction. I relapse after being
    Sober for 3 years but now mostly due to my
    Determination I’ve been sober for 10 months
    I went to best private rehab in states not available
    Unfortunately for most ppl. The were nurses
    Doctors Pharmacist and lots of kids. ALL of the
    Kids were doing Heroin and many were
    There fore more than 1st time. Many like my
    Son do not grasp the gravity of their illness
    Addiction is cunning powerful and Bancrupts
    It’s victims physically mentally and
    Spiritually. It takes more than just
    Will power to overcome this viscous
    Disease. The only disease that wants u
    DEAD DEAD DEAD. It’s worst symptom
    Is denial and shame making its victims
    Reluctant to seek treatment especially men who
    View it as a weakness. U r truly ignorant
    About the DISEASE of Addiction and it’s pl like
    U judge mental & ignorant that make its victims reluctant to have
    The courage to reach out for help

    • Michael Morse says:

      I think you might want to listen a little more and talk a little less at your meetings. I’m hearing a lot of resentment in your words. (I am friend of Bill W., quite familiar with drug addiction as well. Clean and sober 14 yrs., one day at a time.)

  • Regina Koeppel says:

    On and by the way I was diagnosed with
    Bipolar a medical chemical and heritary
    90%
    Of the time. I’ve been fortunate to have
    A GR8 team of Docs & have found
    The combination of meds that have made
    Me feel better than I have ever felt

  • Neal Costigan says:

    Regina,
    There is a difference between CPR and Rescue Breathing. As an emergency nurse, how many heroin overdoses have you seen get reversed and then get up to walk away, only to collapse when the Narcan action ends? How many Heroin overdoses have clear nasal passages that will allow the Narcan to be absorbed appropriately? While I empathize with your personal situation, Rescuing Providence is correct. The majority of the Narcan that is being distributed will expire long before it will be used. Sure, some lives will be saved and no one can put a price tag on them. However, BLS airway management will certainly save more lives than all that Narcan. Most first responders are “adverse” to doing rescue breathing unless they have a BVM so let’s put a BVM in every cruiser and engine company and teach them the correct way to insert an oral airway and correctly use a BVM. Very
    few overdoses occur in public spaces. Many are alone in their rooms or in restroom stalls and, if they are lucky, someone finds them before it is too late.

  • Joe says:

    My opposition to Narcan for everyone is based on the numbers. In NJ in 2013, .01% of people were killed due to a heroin overdose. This is not a pandemic, epidemic, or widespread in any sense of the word. It’s push though the legislative red tape demonstrates the backwards nature of EMS. BLS, cops, regular people have access to Narcan but can’t carry glucagon? Can’t measure a BGL? Still backboard due to mechanism? I’ve yet to encounter a heroin OD that couldn’t be assisted by ventilation.

  • Deb says:

    Opiate overdose does not cause cardiac arrest, it cause respitory distress!!! The loss of strive to breathe!!! Narcan is a reversal medication that takes the opiate (any opiate) off of the receptors in the brain and allows breathing to begin. Rescue breathing is the MOST important part of treatment in an opiate overdose!!! The highest population dying is middle class men between the ages of 40-60! It is the school nurse, the business man, the college student! 80% of herion users were legal prescription drug users who were pre disposed to addiction! It is a nation wide epidemic (declared by the CDC). Why not save a life and hope treatment helps???

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Michael Morse

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