August 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day

This year, the International Overdose Awareness Day’s theme is about the unsung heroes of addiction: those you don’t see in your communities:  support services, healthcare workers, and the parents and families who have lost kids to drug overdoses.  By raising awareness of the hidden impacts of overdose, reaching out to politicians to make lasting policy changes, and promoting education of overdose responses, we can make our voices heard.

To ensure that we don’t forget the impact of substance abuse on EVERYONE, the CDC has an International Overdose Awareness Day Partner tool kit.  #IOAD2023 #EndOverdose.

Did you know that nearly 107,000 drug overdose deaths in 2021 involved an opioid?  That’s 75.4% of all drug overdose deaths?  Yet, due to stigma, only 10% of substance abusers seek treatment.  IOAD is trying to reduce the stigma associated with addiction by emphasizing that it’s o.k. to ask for support.

It’s important for everyone to know the signs of an overdose:  unresponsiveness, stopped breathing, snoring or rattling sounds, color or clammy skin, discolored lips or fingernails, vomiting or confusion.  Source:  SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Services).

But then, what do you do?

  • Call 911 and say “someone is not breathing!”
  • Raise the victim’s head.  If the person is vomiting, turn them on their side.
  • Use naloxone that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.  It is available now in all 50 states without a prescription. As it will continue to work for a maximum of 90 minutes, get the person to the emergency room afterwards.

Fentanyl is responsible for most overdoses.  It can be impacted into drugs that mimic prescription pills.  Not all states have fentanyl strips to test the presence of fentanyl in illicit drugs.  The usage of psychostimulants such as crystal methamphetamine and cocaine are on the rise and causing overdoses.  Even herbs (not classified as drugs by the FDA) can cause addiction and lead to overdoses!

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.

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