Interior Health will likely not be surprised if it receives a somewhat frosty public reception to the idea of giving addicts kits they could use to counteract a heroin overdose.
If it goes ahead, the pilot project for the Interior would give drug users Narcan, which they or someone with them could inject if they were overdosing.
According to a report from the University of Victoria's Centre for Addictions Research, the B.C. Interior has the highest per-capita rates for people being hospitalized due to drug and alcohol overdoses.
As such, the new harm-reduction program would try to reduce the number of such patients needing hospital care, thus saving lives and health-care money.
But the experts will have to forgive the rest of us if we question how realistic it is to expect addicts to, for starters, always carry the Narcan kit around with them. Is it going to be a priority for them or will it simply sit with the dust bunnies under the bed — if they are lucky enough to have a bed and home to keep it in. If they're homeless, there's even more potential for the kit to be forgotten somewhere or lost.
There's also the issue of the drug's effectiveness. In this case, it might work too good; as users are brought so quickly down to a sober state that they may be reluctant to use it.
We wonder if the person who is overdosing is with someone else, will that individual be in a state to assist in a meaningful way?
According to websites that describe how to administer naloxone (Narcan is a trade name), one must snap off the neck of an ampoule of the drug, draw 1 cc into the syringe, inject it into a muscle and perform rescue breathing until the drug takes effect.
And even if such a helper is lucid enough, will he want disrupt his own high to help someone else?
While a lot of unknowns remain for the public to understand how the program might work, if giving out a Narcan kit proves a successful way to save lives and keep overdosing addicts from jamming up emergency wards, it will be a worthwhile initiative.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.