Overdose, while deadly, is preventable thanks to naloxone—a drug often sold under the brand name Narcan. Every person using drugs like heroin or prescription opioid painkillers should have the overdose antidote on hand. Throughout the country, practically all first-responders are now carrying the life-saving medication. And owing to state government efforts, a number of pharmacies can now dole out the drug to addicts and their families without a doctor’s order.
Last year, some 72,000 Americans were victims of a fatal overdose. We saw some 64,000 such cases in the year prior, up from more than 50,000 in 2015. The point is that with each passing year we see an exponential increase in overdose deaths; the death toll would undoubtedly be higher if it were not for Narcan.
In recent years the heightened overdose death rate is attributable to the prevalence of fentanyl; illicit drug makers are synthesizing the synthetic opioid in Mexico and mixing it with heroin, pressing it into pills disguised as prescription painkillers, and mixing it with non-opioids like coke and meth. As a result of these deadly admixtures, people with substance use disorders unrelated to opioids are also perishing. Expanding access to naloxone in states which have not done so yet, and training more individuals to administer the life-saving drug will save lives.
International Overdose Awareness Day
Each time Narcan prevents an overdose death is an opportunity for doctors and public health workers to discuss recovery options with those caught in the vice grip of addiction. People with substance use disorders are especially vulnerable following a near-death-experience; and, some are more receptive to the idea of detox and treatment as a result. While many people return to using after they overdose and often experience another down the road, for some individuals, an overdose is the beginning of their recovery story.
The United States has made significant progress in educating the public about Narcan; and, local health agencies and grassroots organizations hold naloxone training classes on a regular basis. Along with police officers and paramedics, average Americans bring people back from the clutches of death on a regular basis.
August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, a time to remember the lives lost and to encourage more people to learn how to administer Narcan. Across America, free naloxone training seminars are occurring today. What’s more, this is a time that we can continue eroding the stigma of addiction and encourage more people to seek treatment and embrace recovery. Addiction recovery is a powerful tool in the effort to prevent overdose.
Substance Use Disorder Treatment
Addiction, whether it involves opioids, alcohol, or other types of drugs, is a treatable mental health condition. Those who are ready to take the remarkable journey of recovery are invited to contact Hope By The Sea to learn more about our various evidence-based treatment programs. Our experienced and credentialed staff can help you begin the process of healing and making lasting changes in your life. The miracle of recovery can be yours too!