Heroin deaths spike again

Madison County has a problem, and needs an intervention.

Halfway through the year, overdose deaths from all drugs are on track to be the same as last year’s total of 92. That’s troubling because there were only 35 recorded in 2009.

The scary stat is heroin deaths: 28 in Madison County as of July 15. That’s already two more than was recorded for all of 2014. St. Clair County has reported just six heroin deaths this year.

The problem is similar to suicide prevention: How do you stop someone who is intent on harming themselves?

Well, one study shows that 85 percent of heroin overdoses happen when others are present. Friends and family can intervene and call for help.

And there’s a heroin antidote, naloxone, known by the brand name Narcan. Bills to spend $25 million to spread its use to all police and firefighters have stalled as Illinois lawmakers have failed to pass a budget that doesn’t put us $4 billion farther into the red.

Narcan can stop a death, but action by those who care about the addict and professional help are required to save a life.