Chelsea Clinton: We Have ‘An Obligation’ To Save Lives With Naloxone

By Kelly Burch 03/06/17

“No one should die of an opioid overdose in 2017 in America, or anywhere – as in all areas where we know how to prevent such deaths..."

Chelsea Clinton giving a speech.

Chelsea Clinton says that increasing access to naloxone will save thousands of lives and is a moral obligation for people around the globe. 

“It is … a moral issue – we know now that naloxone has the chance to save thousands of lives,” she wrote in an editorial for the BBC. “No one should die of an opioid overdose in 2017 in America, or anywhere – as in all areas where we know how to prevent such deaths, we have an obligation to save lives and work toward zero.”

Chelsea is the daughter of former president Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and serves as vice chair of the Clinton Foundation

The former first daughter highlighted the need for better treatment options, writing that 80% of opioid addicts in the United States and 90% of opioid addicts around the world do not get the help that they need. Talking openly about addiction, overdoses and treatment is one way to improve outcomes, she wrote, citing research that the Clinton Foundation conducted in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University. 

“We learned that by decreasing stigma around addiction and increasing access while normalizing attitudes to life-saving naloxone – an antidote for opioid overdose – we can save thousands of lives,” Clinton wrote. 

The Clinton foundation is now supporting efforts to make naloxone more widely available. “We’re working with partners to make naloxone widely affordable (and at times free) and accessible to EMTs, police officers, educators, and community first responders, so that they know how to use naloxone and are ready to use it whenever needed to save someone’s life – at a school, in a park, on a street, in a home,” Clinton wrote. 

Next, the Clinton Foundation will focus on learning about how naloxone can be used around the world, not just in the United States. Clinton compared addressing opioid addiction with the foundation’s work combatting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

“We hope the Clinton Foundation’s early work in changing markets and distribution systems around HIV/AIDS medicines may provide a model,” she wrote.

Clinton did not shy away from the magnitude of the work that must be done. 

“We know we need new partners in the mental health, health systems and education spaces, among others, to help shape any future global opioid addiction work,” she wrote. “And, of course, we need research to inform potential global work as it has in the US. There is always more data to be collected, more assumptions to be challenged, more stories to be inspired by.”

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Kelly Burch Contrib.jpg

Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.