Did you know that drug overdose deaths are up 30% year-over-year with an alarming peak in 2020 that is not receding?
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reports that:
- almost a million people have been killed by drug abuse since 1999
- 72% of overdose deaths are caused by opioids
- in January 2021, drug overdose deaths exceeded homicides by 3 to 1
The good news is that, according to Injury Facts, 91% of drug overdose deaths in the United States are preventable. But how? The solution is simple: remove the stigma.
Raising awareness about this problem is a responsibility we need to take seriously – especially if we work in a treatment center or have someone close who has an addiction.
Keep reading to learn more about how to recognize an overdose, what to do if a person overdoses, and all about addiction treatments.
About the International Overdose Awareness Day
August 31st is the International Overdose Awareness Day. A day to remember those who passed due to substance abuse but, most importantly, to educate and prevent deaths.
These are three ways you can participate in recognition of this day:
- Educate and inform yourself: If you are researching this awareness day, you may have someone near you who has an alcohol addiction, or is too dependent on prescription drugs. But how can you realize when this becomes a problem? Understanding what an overdose is, what the symptoms are and how to prevent it is a responsibility we owe each other.
- Encourage individuals to seek help: If you think someone close is having trouble with substance abuse, raise your voice. Lean on a treatment center and find out what the best way of intervention is so that you can lend a supporting hand. Seeking help is a personal decision but the right approach from a loved one can make a difference.
- Remove the stigma: Talking about a problem is the first step to fighting it. People who have addiction issues are the first ones to suffer from them, and it is important everyone understands they are just victims who need help.
What is an overdose and how to recognize it?
When a person consumes one or more drugs regularly, the body gets used to them. But there are times when the toxic levels are too much and the brain and body can’t cope with them. So, how can we differentiate an overdose from a mere intoxication?
Symptoms of an Overdose
While the symptoms of an overdose vary from one substance to another one, check for these red flags:
- Seizures and convulsions
- Chest pain (could indicate heart problems)
- Breathing difficulty
- Choking or gurgling
- Too low or too high body temperature
- Bluish lips or fingertips
Most Deadly Drugs
Two-thirds of drug overdoses are caused by opioids –which include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone, and heroin, among others. Still, it is important to be aware that other substances such as alcohol, herbal remedies, and prescription drugs can also cause an overdose.
How to react to someone overdosing
If you think someone is having an overdose:
- Call 911 immediately: Explain as calmly as you can what you think this person took and all symptoms you are seeing. Listen to their instructions which might include performing CPR.
- Check for pill containers: Understanding what drug the person took is essential for the treatment.
- Monitor the person’s condition: Check their breath and take note of any new symptoms until emergency services arrive.
- Don´t feed or make vomit: Giving food or drink to an overdosing person, or trying to make him/her vomit, can only worsen his/her respiratory condition.
How to receive help with a drug addiction?
As said before, seeking help is a personal decision – but one worth making. Finding help can not only prevent an overdose from happening but can change your life forever.
What a Drug Treatment Involves
There are a variety of approaches to addiction. The most common ones are:
- Behavioral therapies
- Substitute drugs
- Support groups
While many addiction treatments such as therapies and support groups can be attended without leaving home, residential rehab centers offer a comprehensive approach that has proved to be effective.
Substance abuse programs at treatment centers include on-site medical care, in-person therapy, wellness amenities such as regular exercising and yoga, and nutritious meals – a whole package that addresses all dimensions of the addiction.
Finding help with an addiction is scary. What if people judge you? What if people don’t want to hire you, or be around you if they know about your drug problem?
Removing the stigma and changing the language is the first and most crucial step we need to take to help people overcome the disease.
International Overdose Awareness Day is a day to re-think the terms we use to talk about substance addiction and avoid perpetuating harmful stereotypes.
Behavioral therapies, support groups, and addiction treatment centers are useful resources that can prevent drug overdose and provide a second opportunity.
At TruNovus we partner with facilities and centers to invest our time and resources in their operations so that they can focus on their patients. Our partners have seen the effects of addiction and are committed to helping people recover from this challenging disease. On this day we would like to recognize their efforts.
Do you need help managing your operations? We can help you with payroll, benefits, billing, and compliance. Contact us!