COVINGTON, KY (4.10.15) – The stigma of drug addiction, the stigma of using medicine to treat it, the stigma of needle exchange and the idea that a life-saving drug shouldn’t be used for overdose victims all need to end.
Michael Botticelli, the director of White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, delivered these messages when he visited Northern Kentucky on Thursday.
Botticelli made it clear while at the Metropolitan Club in Covington at the invitation of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce that he is in favor of using naloxone to save lives. The non-narcotic blocks the effects of heroin or prescription painkillers and can restore breathing in overdose victims.
“Every life is worth saving,” Botticelli told an audience member who questioned whether the drug enables addicts to continue to use heroin. He added that there is no indication that drug addicts will feel safer using heroin because they have access to naloxone.
Botticelli urged a holistic approach, providing both prevention lessons to young children and families and using every treatment and counseling option to help addicts.
He lauded the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s efforts in the regional heroin fight saying he knows of no other chamber in the nation that has stepped forward to help manage the crisis.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he brought Botticelli to the region to learn about its plight with the opioid and heroin epidemic that is plaguing the nation and, particularly, coursing through Northern Kentucky.
“I am here with the director of drug control policy (appointed by President Barack Obama) because this is beyond partisan debate,” the Senate majority leader told chamber members, families advocating recovery, treatment and public health officials at the event.