To the Editor:
Regarding McHenry County’s drug problem, one way to save lives would be to educate the public on the recently passed Overdose Immunity Good Samaritan Law that protects those who have overdosed and those who call for an ambulance from prosecution for small amounts of drugs.
People need to know that if someone is overdosing, they should call 911 for help because, tragically, too often people will avoid calling for help when illegal drugs are involved for fear of arrest and legal ramifications.
Another way to help would be to distribute Naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote and educate opioid-using individuals on how to administer it if someone is overdosing. Having access to this substance will save lives if people are injecting and abusing opioid substances. By offering solutions that reduce the harm associated with these substances, we can more humanely approach addiction as a public health issue and not one for the criminal justice sector, which should be focusing on other crimes.
McHenry County is a wonderful place, but it is not unique by having members of its community struggle with addiction and abuse of substances. Being tough on drug dealers and drug users hasn’t worked so far and likely never will. However, there are good examples of places that have taken a different approach to addiction and seen promising results in reducing overdoses, reducing the spread of diseases associated with needle sharing and getting more people into treatment.