Do you know someone who might overdose on an opioid? Perhaps a family member who takes medication for pain? The opioid crisis is not about addictions, criminals, or people who lack morals. Did you know that 94% of opioid deaths due to overdose are accidental?
The opioid crisis is fastest growing in our young populations but can affect any age.
Those who have succumbed to opioid overdose include children, the elderly, upstanding, and highly educated individuals. Opioid overdose may occur with a single innocent exposure, to regular users, or those with substance use disorders. The crisis is insidious, as it can be linked to illegal, recreational, and even prescription drugs.
Complex and multi-pronged, opioid overdose has many stories, but there is one lesson. Anyone can be a victim. Yes, illegal opioids are a problem, but the use of fentanyl and other powerful opioids are now common, when slipped into recreational drugs can be deadly. Small amounts can cause overdose, even exposure to residue left on surfaces or packaging can lead to deadly consequences.
The possibility of knowing someone who has been affected by the opioid crisis has reached near certainty, and you can help. Naloxone kits save lives. Opioid overdose is completely reversible with naloxone. It’s easy to administer.
Carrying a naloxone kit when attending social gatherings is just a smart thing to do. Having a kit when you host a party is responsible for planning. Engage your teenager and encourage them to have a kit where possible. Imagine the conversations at their next social outing! Share the facts; did you know that the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act protects from minor drug possession charges when you call for help on an overdose?
Keep abreast of the news and how easily it could be anyone. Have conversations to remove the misbelief that the opioid crisis only happens to other people.
Naloxone kits do not require a prescription but do require training. Ask your pharmacist about training and how to get a kit. Your pharmacist can also help address your concerns, and point to available community support.