As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the United States with a vicious tenacity that can only be described as the gnashing teeth of a junkie apocalypse, there is more demand for everyday people to be trained in administering life-saving medications to prevent accidental overdoses.
It might sound a bit strange for a library to make injecting overdose antidotes part of the staff’s job description, but that is exactly that kind of program the San Francisco Public Library is presently developing. The goal of the initiative, as crazy as it might sound, is to prevent any more drug addicts from being discovered dead on the property.
In February, staff members found a deceased overdose victim in the library’s bathroom—the first fatal incident in the past decade, according to a report from Hoodline.
“The idea pending right now is it would be voluntary,” said Michelle Jeffers, a spokesperson for the library. “Librarians and other staff could be trained to administer naloxone only if they want to receive the training and are willing to potentially respond to an incident.”
The San Francisco Public Library has become a hot spot for a legion of junkies to convene and get ripped out of their minds without much suspect…or so they think. A number of witnesses, including library staff and visitors, have reported people strung out all across the facility, shooting dope around the property and even inside the various crevasses of the library itself.
But after the staff found a dead man in the bathroom last month, library officials began to get serious about implementing a program to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again.
If the library decides to implement the program, the San Francisco Department of Public Health would train volunteers to administer naloxone. In addition, the DPH would also establish a response team to clean up discarded syringes discovered around the library.
While naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is undoubtedly a powerful tool in the prevention of accidental overdoses, it is in no way a solution to curbing the opioid problem, which is now killing more people than car crashes and gun-related homicides.
Some worry that the availability of Narcan gives drug users a sense of indestructibility, allowing them to push the limits and achieve new levels of euphoria without any real consequence. While others believe the opioid epidemic has taken such a devastating toll that it should be made available without a prescription in every neighborhood drug store across the nation.
Some of the latest data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention shows in upwards of 30,000 overdose victims were saved by naloxone between 1996 and 2014.