Opioid Overdose Prevention
- Needle Exchange Programs
- Medication Support
- Rescue Drugs
- Police Training
- Protection Laws
The amount of drug overdoses that are occurring in our country right now has reached a staggering high and there is a real opioid epidemic going on. Fatal drug overdoses have actually surpassed the number of automobile accidents that occur in thirty-six out of fifty states, according to the Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Here are five different ways that a community and country can work to prevent opioid overdoses.
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1. Needle Exchange Programs
It seems confusing to many people and like a complete waste of resources. However, hosting needle exchange programs can actually have a really big difference when it comes to the opioid epidemic. What happens is, a drug user will enter a healthcare facility in order to receive clean needles that will ultimately, prevent the spread of something like HIV. By bringing these people into the facility, there is a higher chance that they will receive information that will help them get clean and stay clean. For more information on syringe services programs, see this CDC article.
2. Medication Support
In order to kick an opioid habit, a person would have to go through some pretty nasty and unpleasant withdrawals. This is what causes most people to relapse or to stay on drugs in the first place. There are medications that can be used to help a person recover and to keep an addiction at bay. These medications can help curb withdrawals and reduce the cravings. Once a person is clean, medication can assist with underlying issues that may have caused the addiction like depression or anxiety.
3. Rescue Drugs
The leading cause of death from an opioid addiction is an overdose. When an addiction leads to an overdose, there are rescue medications that can save a person’s life before they pass. This medication is typically carried by law enforcement officials and emergency medical personnel. The hope is that someone will be able to call for help, and if help can be administered quickly enough, the person who has overdosed will be able to recover.
4. Police Training
In order for rescue medication to be used, a police officer would need to be trained to use a rescue medication. Also, they need to be properly trained to diagnose an overdose with enough time to provide assistance. This training should be funded and provided at a local level to help save lives.
5. Protection Laws
Unfortunately, there are situations where a person will overdose and nobody is alerted with enough time to save the person. This occurs often because people are afraid to report an overdose for fear of being arrested for drug possession or drug use. There are protection laws that are in place and need to be developed further, to protect people in the situation that they call for help and there are drugs present.
Drug overdoses have tripled in the past twenty-five years and now is the time for something to be done in order to allow for preventing opioid overdoses. There are plenty of services that can be used in order to make a difference in addiction, overdoses, and recovery. It takes participation from a number of different entities in order to develop these programs and to alert the public that they even exist so they can be used. preventing opioid overdoses can be done and these deaths are highly preventable.