The Perfect Science and Imperfect Politics of Fighting Heroin Overdoses

Science has effectively cured the threat of death by opiate overdose — a risk that claims the lives of at least 22,000 Americans each year — with an extraordinary drug, Narcan. Trick is, Narcan is most effective at saving lives when you provide it to drug users so they can use it on one another as needed. Perfectly effective and safe to administer by anyone to anyone, Narcan is nonetheless a deeply uncomfortable subject for a country used to punishing addicts, not saving them.