Why I fear as a doctor that spring break 2023 will be the most dangerous ever

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A teenager I know very well is heading south to the beaches for spring break this week, equipped with a toothbrush, clothes, condoms and something new, a Narcan inhaler. This is not for himself but because he worries about others, in case he comes upon someone who isn’t breathing. 

He read the instructions carefully but knows there is no downside to spraying naloxone in an unresponsive person’s nose, just as the Panama City police know that there is no downside to cameras and sniffing canines on the beach, just as throughout Florida, non-profit groups including the Pinellas County Opioid Task Force, Florida Harm Reduction Collective and Recovery Epicenter Foundation distribute Narcan to businesses and potential victims.

Narcan can reverse an opioid overdose, but it wears off quickly, whereas fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin, can last for days. This means repeated doses are needed and in the hospital, an intravenous naloxone drip.


Drug overdose deaths continue to rise, over 100,000 per year, with the vast majority from fentanyl. Narcan is available in many places including pharmacy chains over the counter, but

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