Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. It’s not something that the government appears to be talking about much today. No, this is something that is being discussed around the world in health and drug policy reform circles (and in the music industry).
Accidental overdoses have quadrupled since 1990, and more than 26,000 Americans die every year.
Prohibition has done absolutely nothing to address this problem, and, in fact, has been a significant contributor to these deaths. Almost all accidental overdoses for heroin, for example, are directly attributable to the lack of certainty of purity/dosage of the drug, which stems from the government letting criminals supervise heroin’s manufacture and distribution.
Other accidental overdoses are a result of lack of fact-based education. Just say no doesn’t help people know. Knowledge saves lives. Propaganda kills.
Even without stopping the destruction of prohibition outright, there are things that can be done now. As Jason Flom (president of Lava Records and former CEO of Atlantic Records, Virgin Records and the Capitol Music Group) writes in the New York Post:
The solutions are no mystery, and two stand out as no-brainers.
The first is expanding access to naloxone — a cheap, non-narcotic, generic drug proven to reverse the effects of opiate overdose and restore breathing. If we can make it easier to get, weâ€™ll prevent thousands of deaths each year.
The other is passing â€œ911 Good Samaritanâ€ laws. New York last month became the fourth state to allow people to call 911 when witnessing an overdose without fear of prosecution.
We canâ€™t forget the lives that have been lost, nor allow this catastrophe to continue. Iâ€™m calling on radio stations to help spread the word on International Overdose Awareness Day by playing music by bands that have lost a member to an overdose, like Sublime, Blind Melon, Hole, Alice in Chains, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Ramones. Music by legends like Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin. I hope radio stations will mention Overdose Awareness Day and give out the Web site drugpolicy.org/overdose so listeners can learn more about how to reduce overdose deaths.