Substance abuse rarely starts with opiate use on its own | Opinion

This spring I was asked by our middle school nurse to sign off on an order for the opioid blocker known as Naloxone to be kept in the school as a standing order should anyone overdose on an opiate.  As the school’s physician I am used to giving standard orders for Tylenol or asthma medicine, but this one made me pause.

The news has been grim in recent weeks. President Trump appropriately declared the opioid crisis a “National Emergency” on recommendation of his commission, directed by Gov. Chris Christie, to combat drug addiction.  And on a recent morning a coroner’s report confirmed a drug overdose as the cause of death of a 13-year-old boy.

This issue is finally getting the attention it deserves in the media. As a pediatrician for almost 30 years, specializing in adolescent medicine for most of that time, I have been trained to think foremost about prevention of disease. Yet prevention is too rarely our first line of defense, when prevention should be the cornerstone of our initiatives to fight this deadly and dangerous scourge.

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