SWEET HOME HEROIN: NEW DRUG COULD SAVE LIVES FROM NARCOTICS
By Jack Royer
Capt. Allen Treadaway with the Birmingham Police Department has decades of law enforcement experience. For the past decade, he’s also represented District 51 in the Alabama State House of Representatives.
“You know, I have a role in the Montgomery legislature to be able to work on legislation and laws that can be very beneficial to the public, and then come back home when the session is over with and actually have an opportunity to enforce those laws,” Treadaway said.
In the legislature, Treadaway introduced and passed legislation that allows citizens to get a prescription for a generic form of the drug Naloxone which immediately reverses the affects of an opiate overdose and sends the person into fast withdraws.
“In the past, our medics had it, our emergency rooms (had it). Now, an individual, a loved one, a friend, a mother, a father, who may have someone in their lives that is experiencing this addiction can have it close by,” Treadaway said.
Thanks to Treadway’s legislation, the generic version, Evzio can be prescribed by doctors in Alabama. In January 2016, law enforcement officers can carry this drug after receiving training. Treadaway emphasized the importance of the drug’s availability to police, because law enforcement is often the first to arrive on the scene of an incident in rural areas.
Over the counter, the drug is expensive. One Tuscaloosa pharmacy told WVUA 23 that their wholesale cost for the drug is more than $550.
Perspectives on this drug differ among heroin addiction experts. One recovered addict believes it could be a bad idea to give addicts access to a drug that might enable them to continue using heroin by being a lifeline in the event of an overdose.
Jacky Gann is a recovered heroin addict who has been administered Narloxone in the past.
“If I’m a heroin addict, I shouldn’t be prescribed (Narloxone). Overall, it’s a step in that direction, and could be the right direction, to shore up the back end of it,” he said.
Allen Treadaway stands behind his legislation, saying his years of law enforcement experience dealing with heroin have made him believe this drug is indeed a step in the right direction.
“I know with five children, that if I had a child that was addicted I would want this drug available,” he said. “I would want my child to have every opportunity to kick the habit. If this is just another tool to help you get that individual that next step, then why not?”
This is the final installment of a four part series titled “Sweet Home Heroin.” To watch the other three reports, follow the links below.