Police Officer Eric Miller acknowledged right off the bat that law enforcements officers don’t have the best reputation when it comes to dealing with people with addiction struggles.
However, Miller is not the police officer stereotype. Miller believes in rehabilitation rather than incarceration being the solution to addiction. He makes the assertion that addiction issues are more commonplace than they are presented.
“Every knows someone with an addiction…but no one’s talking about it,” Miller said.
Chas Carlson, an EMT for six years, and Ian Stoddart, a paramedic for 30 years were also guest speakers. These two men are often the people who revive people suffering from overdoses with naloxone. They expressed the realities of their jobs. Most people who are saved are irritable because they see it as paramedics/EMTs ruining their high. Also, most people are embarrassed because they don’t want to be seen that way.
What stood out to me was that Carlson specifically told the class he was in favor of allowing naloxone be sold over the counter so loved ones can help people with addiction. People who buy them are not addicts and you cannot get high from naloxone. His only stipulation is that people should have basic training before buying it.
Unfortunately, legislation in much of the country is not on Carlson’s side. According to Carlson, the majority of states that are opposed to the idea is middle-America also known as “The Bible Belt.”
Public perception of people struggling with addiction is that the problem is more of a moral issue. According to Carlson, the conservative viewpoint is often that providing resources is enabling the problem.
As of right now, certain counties in Pennsylvania are supplying both medics and police officers with naloxone to combat the overdose problem.