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When heroin users overdose, their friends and family can keep them from dying. Here's how.

Baltimore's streets are a little less deadly because of this program.

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Open Society Foundations

Deaths from heroin overdose rose to over 8,000 in 2013, the last year with accurate statistics. Some call it a national plague, but the real shame is that it's preventable in most cases simply by providing heroin users and their friends and family with a simple way to bring an overdosed user back to a living, breathing human being.

I know there are people who would rather drug users just go away and stop being a drain on public resources. But guess what? It's not that easy. Whatever their life circumstances were that brought them to this point, they deserve a chance to get into a recovery program and make it out alive.


Fox News 45 in Baltimore made a video about a great example of a city being forward-thinking and preventing overdoses, giving people a chance to fight their way out of addiction. Isn't that the humane thing to do?

I hope I see the day when programs like this are in every major U.S. city and some suburbs and rural areas.

Here's how it works:

They provide needle exchanges to reduce the transmission of HIV, hepatitis, and other diseases. But they also do something pretty marvelous. They train people how to use the generic form of Narcan to save the lives of people who are overdosing on heroin.

The woman who is trying to stay off heroin? She's saved the lives of five people in three years using this method. That's remarkable.