As their budgets strain, communities have begun questioning how much money and effort they should be spending to deal with overdoses, especially in cases involving people who have taken near-fatal overdoses multiple times. State and local officials say it might be time for “tough love”: pushing soaring medical costs onto drug abusers or even limiting how many times first responders can save an individual’s life.
“It’s not that I don’t want to treat overdose victims, it’s that the city cannot afford to treat overdose victims,” said Middletown Council Member Daniel Picard, noting this industrial town in northern Butler County might have to raise taxes in response to the crisis.
Often, the only thing separating whether an overdose victim goes to the hospital instead of the morgue is a dose of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses.
Two doses of an injectable form of naloxone, Evzio, cost $4,500, up from $690 in 2014. The price of other forms of the drug, including the nasally administered Narcan, typically range from $70 to $150 per dose, officials say.
…Here in Ohio, first responders say it’s not uncommon for overdose victims to have previously been revived with naloxone at least a half-dozen times.
…Picard, the council member, has proposed a controversial three-strikes policy in which first responders wouldn’t administer Narcan to repeated overdose victims.
Here is the Tim Craig at WaPo story. I do not know what is the proper response to such opioid cases, or how much money should be spent. I do know that somewhere, somehow a line has to be drawn. And if you are reading a discussion of health care policy that does not acknowledge such a line, and set out possible standards for it, beware of sophistry and illusion.