Another three dead of heroin overdoses in Hartford in the last 16 hours. The slaughter continues. Hartford led the state in overdose deaths in 2015 with 56. The 2016 numbers, which are not complete, are estimated to be in the high 70s. Already there have been 5 known heroin deaths in 2016. I recently did a cardiac arrest of a male in his 40’s just out of rehab, found dead on the couch. No heroin paraphernalia was seen, but who’s to say the scene wasn’t sanitized before we got there or maybe he snorted outside and walked into the house and collapsed. Not certain if he ended up as a medical examiner case, but if he did, the evidence will be in the blood, and his name will be added to the tally.
Next week, at our hospital EMS CME, a death investigator from the office of the state Medical Examiner will be speaking to us about heroin and fentanyl. I am very excited to hear her talk.
I am encouraged that people are the crisis seriously. From police to health care workers to elected representatives, an extraordinary number of people are paying attention and working together to try to find a solution.
I think it is time to take our thinking to the next level. Years ago, needle exchange programs were very controversial. They have proven their worth in helping halt the AIDS epidemic. I think it is time we consider safe areas, monitored by medical personal, where addicts can use. There they can get counseling if they want it, and maybe get into rehab. If they are not ready for it, at least if they OD, they can be revived before hypoxia kills them.
Dead people can’t recover.