Posted on August 31, 2018 by Laura Fuller
The United States accounts for over 25% of the estimated number of drug-related deaths worldwide, including overdose deaths. The number of overdose deaths in the United States more than tripled between 1999 and 2015. The CDC estimates that over 70,000 died from fatal drug-overdoses in 2017.
Today, the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involve an opioid.
Opioids, a class of drugs involving both legal and illegal substances, slow the central nervous system to produce a calming effect. These substances are often prescribed to relieve pain or recreationally misused by people with addictions. When taken in excessive amounts or in combination with other drugs, they can depress normal functions such as breathing and heart rate until they eventually stop, resulting in death.
Even if a person does not die from an opioid overdose, they can sustain permanent brain damage.
If you cannot get a response from someone who may have overdosed, do not assume they are asleep. Unusual or deep snoring is a common sign of overdose. Do not let people at risk ‘sleep it off’. If you see any of these signs, you should immediately move to activate the response plan for opioid overdose.
Action taken as soon as possible could save a life. If you think someone has overdosed, knowing how to respond is crucial. Immediately activate the response plan for an opioid overdose if you see any of these signs. (This information is not a substitute for more detailed training. You can find more about that training on SAMSHA’s website.)
Naloxone (also known by one of the brands Narcan®) is the life-saving drug used by paramedics to revive people who have overdosed on opioid drugs.
(Naloxone is a regulated medication and must be administered properly. Visit SAMHSA’s Division of Pharmacologic Therapies (DPT) provides opioid prescribing courses for physicians, webinars, workshops, and summits, and publications and research.)
Recovery is possible. Together, we can reduce the stigma of overdose, addiction, and recovery. For more information on International Overdose Awareness Day, visit overdoseday.com
The threat of overdose lives year ’round. Call 844-843-8935 today.