HN NOTE: Okay, here’s why it’s important for patients to go with rescue to the emergency room, even after being revived from a life threatening drug overdose:
(What follows is some of what I’ve learned from numerous conversations with medics, police, and in some cases, patients. But having said that, my knowledge on this subject is a constantly evolving paradigm. Even the potency of the drugs and what it takes to reverse overdoses has been known to change. But here’s what I’ve learned so far…)
It’s not unusual for overdose patients to refuse treatment after receiving Narcan. They become wide awake, almost immediately losing the effects of certain drugs, which sometimes makes them upset about losing their “high,” and oftentimes it simply makes them want to continue taking illicit drugs which still may be nearby and readily available.
But also now, with the arrival of much stronger poisons on our streets, like heroin mixed with fentanyl, first responders are finding normal doses of Narcan are not working as well. Patients often have been known to refuse treatment, only to find themselves overdosing again as soon as the Narcan wears off.
This can lead to a patient isolating and overdosing again a second time even when they have not injected additional drugs.
Rescue has also been known to return and treat the same patient for more than one overdose on the same day. It’s like playing Russian roulette with their lives, each overdose puts them at greater risk of not being revived in time.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior makes some wonder why we even bother to revive overdose patients who seemingly do not want help. The fact is, some addicts do decide to become clean eventually. I have seen this happen on several occasions (and nothing makes me happier to see these acts of strength where some people are rewarded with the ability to keep living). I have seen people remain in recovery, loving their lives without dangerous drugs.
The easiest way to describe this situation is, when these drugs take hold, people are not thinking for themselves. The drug takes over. Opiates make these patients temporarily insane. I say “temporarily” because one way or another opiate addiction always comes to an end in one of three ways; either people decide to become “clean” and sane again, or they find themselves locked up, sick and behind bars, or else they eventually die.
In the following video, a female patient was found unresponsive from a drug overdose, possibly in respiratory arrest… First responders administered Narcan and as you will see, the patient was alert and talking when initially placed inside an ambulance. But eventually, the patient refused further treatment and transportation to the hospital. Police and medics tried to reason and convince her she needed to be evaluated further, that her condition could still be very dangerous and life threatening.
But the patient walked out of the ambulance, persistently refusing further treatment. Police then had to make the decision to handcuffed her, place her in protective custody, and transport her directly to the emergency room, where she was evaluated further and eventually able to leave.
She is still believed to be alive at the time of this report. The following video highlights the situation.
[Press play… Select HD in the settings…]