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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 14, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Heroin epidemic: Naloxone is no cure-all

It was great to see The Times addressing heroin addiction and its treatment [“Naloxone is a good antidote to a new heroin epidemic,” Opinion, June 10]. Unfortunately, the editorial board missed a couple of critical facts and grossly oversimplified the reality of this addiction.

In Seattle and other parts of the country, the dramatic rise in heroin abuse is largely being driven by an increase in teen users who are smoking or snorting heroin, not injecting it. Advocating needle-exchange sites as the best place to distribute naloxone makes no sense for these new young users — they don’t use needles.

In addition, while naloxone can alleviate withdrawal symptoms, physical addiction is only part of the challenge. Emotional addiction to the euphoria and sense of well-being heroin offers is something that naloxone cannot duplicate. Naloxone is an important tool, but not a magic bullet.

Lorraine Edwards, Seattle

Comments | More in drugs | Topics: drugs, heroin, Lorraine Edwards

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