Petition Uber and Lyft to Provide Narcan to Drivers and Save 1000s of Lives
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To the corporate leaders at Lyft and Uber:
3.8 million Americans use heroin. Nearly a million are daily drug users. The majority of them are people aged 18-25. They are the app generation. The Amazon Prime people. The crowdsourcers. And the generation most dramatically impacted by the deadly opioid crisis.
Think about it. The people who use instant-ride companies like Uber and Lyft are the most likely to be affected by addiction. One in eight Americans has an alcohol problem: one in one thousand is addicted to heroin. That means that, of 4 million Uber and Lyft users, over half a million of them likely have a serious issue with substances.
The opioid crisis is accelerating, along with other substance use. One American dies every four minutes, from drug related causes. Although many people choose to call an Uber or Lyft after a long night of partying, the rides can also become ambulances for people who are intoxicated to the point of incapacitation or death.
Instead of being the designated driver, the driver might end up with a sick or severely intoxicated passenger in their backseat. It’s seen as part of the job: some drivers even carry barf bags for riders who have had too much to drink. But what about a more serious situation? What if the rider passes out, or experiences shortness of breath, or goes into cardiac arrest?
Recently, Uber driver Randy McKillop intervened to save the life of a heroin-addicted passenger. His familiarity with addiction and willingness to help made a huge difference. Randy said, “We don't throw people away. We help them. Travis' body was dead, but his eyes were alive. He didn't want to die. And I couldn't let him go. I couldn't live with myself."
He's not the only driver who's been in this situation. What made the difference? He was ready to help.
The high population of app users who also fall into the demographic of people with substance use problems guarantees this kind of interaction on any given night. Somewhere in America, on a Saturday night, a worried driver is pulling onto the shoulder of the road to make sure their passenger is still breathing.
If the rider is lucky, the driver might have some First Aid training, or CPR. But if heroin is involved, that won’t be enough.
So what are these companies doing to prevent drug use deaths? Lyft and Uber are both in a unique position to help stop the opioid crisis by preparing the people on the front lines: the drivers who use the ridesharing app to connect with passengers. Simply by providing a 20-minute training in how to identify a heroin overdose and administer Narcan, Lyft and Uber could save hundreds of lives every year.
20 minutes. That’s all it takes to make sure someone gets to the emergency room safely. Narcan, a nasal spray that immediately neutralizes the effects of heroin in the user’s brain and puts them into withdrawal, can halt or reverse an overdose. A Narcan kit with two doses of the medication costs $75 over the counter: that’s pennies for companies that draw over $20 billion in gross revenue annually.
Lyft and Uber, your drivers are on the front line of this drug epidemic. The people who are affected by heroin use your apps every day. Sometimes, they make it home safely. Lyft and Uber can make sure that every ride is a safe ride by providing drivers with Narcan kits and basic training in how to use them to save lives.
We’re calling on you to commit to combating this crisis. It’s on the streets, and it’s in your back seats. Together, we can stop the epidemic.
Sign the petition to ask Lyft and Uber to make sure every driver has access to Narcan and knows how to use it. Help get our friends and family members home safely.
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