When Pandemics Collide

So a few days ago after the kids had fully destroyed our house, we decided to venture out for a calm post domestic apocalypse socially distanced stroll around the block. Somewhere in the haze within my skull I heard Vanessa’s focusing voice directing me towards a car parked diagonally and running in an intersection. She said “something’s wrong there.”

Outside the car a guy was calling 911. And inside the car was a guy slumped over unconscious. COVID, for whatever reason, didn’t enter my mind at all. Probably it should have. So I opened the door and used “transthoracic Narcan” to rouse the guy from his OD. (I shook the sheight out of him.) He went from ashen and sweat soaked, to flushed, confused and walking in about 5 minutes, after which 3 police cars, a fire truck and ambulance arrived. 30 minutes of questioning and assessment later, the guy opted for no transport and went on with his day. Max and Zak got their fire chief stickers and enjoyed their home school EMS field trip.

The experience got me thinking about the differences and similarities between these two parallel pandemics, namely COVID and narcotic addiction, and the way the former has eclipsed all others. COVID hits anyone… rich, poor, powerful and homeless. Narcotic addiction does too. No judgement for COVID victims. Not so for the addicted. We’ll likely build a memorial to victims of COVID some day. Less likely for ODs.

Both can, and have, destroyed nations. Would we have COVID today without the opium wars in China years ago?

For COVID, we’re mobilizing to build ventilators. For narcotics, there’s push for Narcan with every narcotic prescription… Maybe it’ll be in the water someday. Ventilators and Narcan, to me, epitomize downstream action.

In a few months COVID will likely be behind us and just another virus in the milieu. Narcotics will keep gnawing away.

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