Guest editorial: Opioid antidote is easily accessible
October 4, 2016
Two young people, 13 years old, in Treasure Mountain Middle School died recently and although toxicology tests have not been completed it is believed they overdosed on “Pink.” Pink, known chemically as U-47700, is a synthetic opioid that was developed in the chemical sense about 25 years ago and has been actively used for the last three to five months here in Park City.
It is especially enticing to drug experimenters because it has a “kick,” relatively speaking, seven times more powerful than morphine and two times that of heroin. Dr. Thatcher, Chief Medical Officer for Valley Behavioral Health, and an addiction medicine specialist, said, "All opiates bind to what are called opiate receptors in the brain and can cause euphoria (high feeling) if taken in large enough dosages. This is why people abuse opiates. However, if you take too much of an opiate it can cause deep sleep called a coma, and death when you stop breathing. Because pink is so potent and strong, it is easier to die than with other opiates that aren't as strong like pain pills and heroin."
The trouble with the “hit” is that when the person comes off the high it appears that the person is simply sleeping. Wrong! What is recommended first is call 911 and second administer the Naloxone (Narcan) immediately. When in doubt, simply do it! There is no lasting negative effect, hence it can be acquired over the counter with no prescription. The worst that will happen is that it will prompt symptoms that are like a withdrawal from a drug, but, nothing health damaging and nothing permanently harmful.
"Its really important for people to understand that death with opiates happens because you fall asleep and become unconscious. That means you can't wake them up no matter how much you yell or shake them. Then they stop breathing and you only have 4-10 minutes to save them or they die. Somebody needs to be there to administer the antidote, naloxone. A problem is that either people aren't around when this happens, or nobody knows what to do. Putting Naloxone into the hands of non-medical everyday people is what this program is all about. If you see anyone struggling to stay awake and respond to you, or they are unresponsive altogether do two things in this order; get someone to call 911 immediately, and give the Naloxone. Don't worry that you don't know anything about medicine. You don't have to. That's the entire point of this national campaign. Naloxone is very safe. You're also protected by new laws against prosecution if you're using drugs with the person, or just trying to help. Give it, please give it!"
Naloxone (Narcan) is an antidote. It comes in a two syringe package that costs about $35 to $40 or in a nasal spray package at around $140. The antidote is immediately helpful but 911 must be called because it takes multiple doses of the antidote to overcome the power of the opioid drug.
Pink is highly toxic. It comes in the form of a powder. Some police officers have inhaled it and felt the effects. Touching it seems to have an effect as well. Treat it with care if you come into contact with it.
The name “Pink” stems from its color. But, some white “Pink” has been found here.”PINK” is ordered over the internet. It comes in a package, probably 6″ by 6″, and may have Chinese characters on it. If you see anything like this arrive in your mail box and addressed to your child, open. You could be saving that child’s life.
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Naloxone Kits can be obtained at both local Fresh Market pharmacies as well as Kamas FoodTown.