With new drug law, a mother pushes to help save those who overdose

Medford, Ore.– In January 2013, Max Pinsky overdosed on heroin at the age of 25. He was one of four young Ashland men to overdose that winter.

Max, who had been attending school and working up to that point, caught his family off-guard by his sudden turn.

“You know it wasn’t something we expected, but the six months beforehand or so was pretty crazy…. it was crazy,” said, Julia Pinsky, Max’s mother.

After losing her son, Julia decided to help others. Starting a year ago this November, she founded a non-profit organization called Max’s Mission to help others suffering from opioid addiction.
She says it’s something Max would have embodied.

“He was all about helping other people. He was very kind, you know he was a wonderful young man,” said Julia. “He liked to help people whoever they were and he would think it was a great thing.”

When Julia first lost Max, she started learning more about naloxone, a drug to reverse overdoses. Initially, naloxone had to be prescribed and administered only after taking a specialized course. That created road blocks for people hoping to save lives. For Julia, she believes if the medication had been more readily available, it might have helped to save her son’s life.

However, a new law will change the future for those who may suffer from narcotic overdoses.

Beginning October 6th, anyone can get the medication without having to take the specialized course. Pharmacists and prescribers still want to stress that in no way is this the cure to an overdose.

“It’s strictly a band-aid until 911 can get on site,” said Andy Benson, a pharmacist at Ashland Drug. “It’s very important like if you’re giving someone CPR, you always wanna call 911 first or as quickly as possible.”

Julia says the law is a great first step but there are still more steps that need to be taken.

“Businesses and agencies to train their people and train them to give (naloxone) out to their clients who need it. There is a lot more still to be done to get naloxone into the hands of people who need it. It’s nowhere near there, out there, enough to be honest.”

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