As the director of the Postpartum Naloxone project at FMH I would like to address some of the controversy which the project seems to have generated. First, there is no denying that Maine and the rest of the country are in the midst of an opioid crisis. So far this year Maine is on track to have 600 residents die of drug overdose. This is about as many people who died of COVID-19 in the past year. People do not set out with the goal of becoming addicted to drugs and the more we look at drug addiction as a chronic illness and not a character flaw or crime the easier it will be to use strategies that minimize the social, medical, and economic costs of drug use and misuse. I’m sure that many families’ lives in Franklin County have been touched by drug use and misuse and my heart goes out to them.
One way to save the lives of people who have overdosed is to administer naloxone (Narcan), One of the goals of this project is to increase the amount of naloxone in the community so if a family member, friend, child or visitor happens to overdose there will be naloxone on hand as well as someone who has been trained to use it. Giving a naloxone first aid kit to every postpartum person at FMH furthers this goal in a way that does not imply that someone who takes the kit uses drugs nor should it.
Having more naloxone in the community is a goal of the State of Maine. It does not promote drug use but it could save the life of a family member or friend.
Jay Naliboff MD