When dealing with addiction, it is imperative to educate yourself about drug overdose prevention.
Drug overdoses are serious problems all across the country today. Overdose deaths are on the rise, especially when it comes to opiates like heroin and OxyContin. Between 2002 and 2015, the fatal overdose number rose from right around 24,000 to 50,000 annually. But even worse is the fact that people do not fully understand drug overdose prevention and how they can help to slow these growing fatal overdose rates. There are ways to stop an overdose before it is too late and a big part of that is overdose prevention education. Get to know more about drug overdose prevention so you can become a part of an overdose prevention strategy and help bring these overdose numbers down.
Drug Overdose Prevention Starts at Home
Drug overdose prevention starts with getting your immediate family and yourself in order. There are steps that you can take to prevent both intentional and accidental drug abuse and overdose in your house. Make sure any prescribed medications are kept safely in a high cabinet in your home, especially if you have small children.
If you have been prescribed any controlled substances such as prescription opioids for pain due to injury or surgery, keep those locked up at all times to avoid abuse. Once you no longer require the medication, contact a local pharmacy about prescription drug disposal options so you can remove the potentially dangerous drug from your house. These steps are a surefire way to having an at-home overdose prevention strategy in place to protect yourself and your family.
Encourage Doctors to Look for Alternative Pain Management Methods
Lobby local physicians and the American Medical Association about the high rates of prescription opioids being legally prescribed to patients. Encourage physicians to engage in more extensive overdose prevention education and to educate their patients as well. But most importantly, the numbers of prescription opioid drugs needs to come down significantly if there is to be any progress made when it comes to reducing the problem of fatal overdose. Ask doctors to consider alternative pain management options for patients recovering from injuries or even from surgery. Talk to them about other pain medications, physical therapy techniques, and other options that can reduce drug dependence and therefore overdoses.
Lobby Your State Representatives to Have Police Carry Naloxone
There are medications available that can reverse an overdose that is in progress. However, even people concerned about drug overdose prevention may not be aware of this fact. Naloxone is a medication that when administered quickly can stop a potentially fatal heroin overdose in progress. Because police officers are usually the first responders on the scene when drugs are involved, it is important that all police officers carry naloxone on their person or in their car with them in case they come across a person suffering an overdose. This could potentially save countless lives every year.
Some states have already enacted regulations or laws that require officers to carry naloxone. But, if your state is not one of those, contact your representatives and work to lobby them to require police officers to carry naloxone. Police officers, firefighters, and EMTs should all have extensive overdose prevention education and departments should have a cohesive and clear drug overdose prevention program in place to protect citizens as much as possible.
These are just a few of the many ways that you can get involved in drug overdose prevention. Take care of your own home as well as work to protect the community at large. Educate yourself and others in overdose prevention, and of course, know the signs of drug overdose so that you can act and get help to them as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.