The Numbers Are So Staggering

 

Overdose Deaths Set a Record Last Year

– The New York Times

 

“Whether you personally know someone who is suffering with an addiction problem or not, chances are you are aware of the current overdose epidemic.  It is important that everyone recognize who is at risk and what the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose are.  A class of synthetic drugs has replaced heroin in many major American drug markets, ushering in a more deadly phase of the opioid epidemic. New numbers Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017, a record. Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence at their peaks. The data also show that the increased deaths correspond strongly with the use of synthetic opioids known as fentanyls.”

~ Source: The New York Times

WHO IS AT RISK OF OVERDOSE?

Those at risk for

Unintentional Overdose are:

  • Young children – confusing medication for candy
  • Elderly – confusing dosage or mixing medications improperly
  • Anyone who takes multiple medications
  • Individuals with Mental Illness
  • Anyone who takes an incorrect dosage of a medication

Those most at risk for

Overdose are:

  • Individuals using prescription opioids long term for chronic illness or pain management
  • Individuals abusing prescription or street drugs
  • Those who mix drugs with alcohol
  • Those who recently received treatment for drug abuse
  • Those with a history of overdose
  • Those recently released from incarceration

People with drug addiction issues usually don’t mean to overdose.   If individuals start using substances again at the same level they were prior to a period of not using substances, i.e., treatment or incarceration, they may easily overdose because their tolerance level has been lowered.

How to Recognize an Overdose

Depending on what drug was used, overdose symptoms can be different.  Overdose symptoms can also mimic many other conditions.  Some common signs of an opioid overdose:

 

Loud snoring or gurgling noises

Body very limp

Unresponsive

Skin pale/gray, clammy

Lips/fingertips turn blue(ish)

Pulse slow or erratic

Breathing very slow, shallow, or not at all

Unconscious

Responding to an

OPIOID OVERDOSE

Step 1:  Rouse and stimulate

Step 2:  Call 911

Step 3:  Give Naloxone (if you have a prescription)

Step 4:  Rescue breathing

Step 5:  Care for the individual until help arrives

HOW NOT TO RESPOND TO AN OPIOID OVERDOSE

Anecdotal Remedy

Use ice to cool down body

Put person in bath/shower

Hit/slap or burn fingers/feet

 

Give drink/induce vomiting

Inject person with cocaine,

salt water, milk, epinephrine

 

Possible Consequence(s)

Slowed heart rate, arrhythmia

Drowning

Bruising, broken bones,

infection, amputation

Choking to death

High blood pressure, infection

BECOME TRAINED IN NALOXONE

Attend Opioid Overdose Response Training

 

Naloxone, also known as Narcan ®, when administered to a person overdosing from an opioid medication or drug, can reverse the overdose immediately by quickly restoring breathing and consciousness.  If someone you know may be at risk for overdosing on prescription pain medication or heroin, you can obtain a prescription for this lifesaving drug medication and learn how to administer it.

 

Training participants learn about opioids, how to recognize, respond to and prevent an opioid overdose and how to administer naloxone to reverse an overdose.  After completing the training, participants receive a completion certificate, a prescription for naloxone and an overdose prevention kit.

 

The training and overdose prevention kit are FREE to participants

More Information About Naloxone & Training

PAINKILLER ABUSE

Destroys Lives.

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SPONSORED BY THE ALLEGANY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT,

BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES

(301) 759-5050

12501-12503 Willowbrook Road, PO Box 1745

Cumberland, Maryland 21501-1745

OUR MISSION: Prescribe Change Allegany County’s mission is to create awareness and educate the citizens of Allegany County,
Maryland about the growing crisis of opioid prescription drugs, and heroin misuse and abuse in our community.