Among many of the issues being reported on in the daily news cycle are reports about the "opioid epidemic" overcoming many American cities. As a bit of a crossover, the Senate healthcare bill that was supposed to be up for a vote this week has some lawmakers nervous because senators like Shelley Capito (R-WV) are not sure if the bill will help their areas and people they represent who are in need of drug rehabilitation. For the time being, there are some people in those cities who are doing what they can such as a librarian in Philadelphia who has reportedly already saved six people from overdosing at the library where she works.

Addicts overdosing in community libraries

CNN published an article last week titled: "The opioid epidemic is so bad that Librarians are learning how to treat overdoses", which details how 33-year-old Chera Kowalski has had to come to the aid of people overdosing in her library by injecting them with Narcan, a brand name for Naloxone.

A library security guard named Sterling Davis told a CNN reporter the obvious, that Kowalski isn't a medic and just a librarian for the teen-adult section of the library. The article says that San Francisco and Denver are two cities thus far where other librarians have also had to learn to become first responders. As a side note, the Clinton Foundation is currently working on a plan to have more units of Naloxone distributed in the U.S.

While it might be somewhat off-the-cuff for addicts to be overdosing at Public Libraries, in some communities, libraries are considered safe havens for the homeless and they also provide services for impoverished communities. The article reports that this trend has grown over the past two years, and points to the suburbs of Chicago and Reading, Pennsylvania as examples.

The president of the American Library Association, Julie Todaro, has said that they're working to train library staff on how to administer the drug in order to save lives, as opposed to enforcing some sort of crackdown to keep addicts out.

Libraries struggle with solutions

In cases where addicts have overdosed in the bathrooms of McPherson Square Library -- where Kowalski works -- the library staff have had to enforce a crackdown on bathroom use and track those coming in and out.

Apparently, heroin use was so bad that the McPherson library's sewer system was clogged up with needles. CNN also points to "drug tourists" who have been known to travel from other cities coming specifically to Kensington, Pennsylvania, for "the purest heroin in the East Coast," to quote the article. Kowalski also reportedly has a history of drug addiction herself, saying that her parents were addicts but that they have been clean for over 20-years.