In his seminars, [Dr. John] Aldis addresses why addicts’ lives are worth saving. That might seem self-evident, but at this point in the opioid epidemic many West Virginians feel too exhausted and resentful to help. People like Lori Swadley and the Hope Dealer women and John Aldis must combat a widespread attitude of “Leave ’em lie, let ’em die.” A community sucked dry by addiction becomes understandably wary of coddling users, and some locals worry that making Narcan easily available could foster complacency about overdoses.
William Poe, a paramedic, told me, “The thing about Narcan is that it kind of makes it O.K. to overdose, because then you can keep it in your house and keep it private. And a lot of times we’re the wake-up call. I remember one time, we had a kid who had O.D.’d, and we had him in the ambulance. A call came over the radio—someone about his age had just died from an overdose. And the kid was, like, ‘I’m so glad you guys brought me back.’ ” It was humiliating when an ambulance showed up at your house and carted you out, pale and retching, but it also might push you to change. Then again, Poe mused, when most of your neighbors—not to mention your mom and your grandma—already knew that you used heroin, shaming might have little effect.
Terrifying, moving, must read on US opioid crisis by the New Yorker: The Addicts Next Door https://t.co/sKvXPngdU0
— Jan Fiegel (@janfiegel) June 12, 2017