What the Surviving Encounters with the Police Movement Can Learn from the Opioid Crisis
The epidemic of opioid deaths has reached all-time highs. Poor white and black Americans have been overdosing on opioids for decades. But now there has been increase in deaths with the fastest growing death rate coming from middle class America. Opioid deaths amongst women is the fastest growing group:
- Prescription pain relief overdoses deaths among women are up 400%.
- Heroin overdose deaths among women have tripled.
- Prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents have doubled as well.
We have an American crisis that requires an immediate and drastic response.
The who, what, when and where during an acute overdose can be addressed at a later time. But the how we can immediately saving the life of a citizen who has just overdosed is critical. Opioid overdoses cause respiratory depression and decrease mental status. Once a person overdoses from an opioid – especially when injected – the user is in imminent threat of dying within minutes from not breathing.
There is a lifesaving medication, Naloxone, also known as Narcan, that immediately and temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Narcan is an opioid antagonist drug that works by reversing the respiratory and central nervous system depression.
The current epidemic of the opioid crisis has forced regulators and government officials to decide to arm non-trained, unlicensed citizens, family members and first responders with Narcan. The immediate benefit is the person does not die.
The Greatest Lesson
This is where Dr. Saving Lives sees the greatest lesson. Civic, medical and legal community decided that drastic times require drastic measures in order to slow the deaths from opioid overdoses. The public chose to assist make saving lives as an immediate priority and instituted a short term and temporary fix. They made Narcan available more and immediately available in the pursuit of saving lives.
The community must also immediately adjust too. We have to arm ourselves and loved ones with skills that will immediately save lives while long term solutions are being developed. 3.4 citizens are being killed by the police per day. Additionally, a non-scientific estimate would suggest that at least 10 times as many citizens experience lethal use of force by the police each day. Lethal force is the force when applied is capable and likely to cause death but does not always kill.
Police violence and killing of citizens is an American crisis that will require long term solutions that are going to take years to develop. “Home Alive” is a temporary fix in an effort to immediately save lives. The book and provides a set of skills that when taught and implemented would greatly decreased the likelihood of a violent interaction with the police.
The who, what, when, where and why can be discussed once your child or loved one is home alive. Give them their Narcan. Meaning, give our kids survival tools, a kit whose sole purpose is to save lives.
- Comply now, protest later.
- Don’t run.
- Don’t mouth off.
- Make the officer feel safe and respected.
Absolutely, it is unfortunate and sickening that circumstances exist that require us as American citizens to need a survival kit. I teach my son and daughter that we must aggressively debate, march, vote, write letters and support civic organizations that are aligned with addressing the crisis of police killings while permanent solutions are being developed- except during an active interaction with the police. But the rules change during real live encounters with the police. Actually, both you and the officer(s) have the same immediate goal – make it home alive. Hence, during the stop go into survival mode – make it Home Alive.
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