October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, and currently opioids are very much in the spotlight as a substance of misuse. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that on average, 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Too many people are still unaware that prescription opioids are often a gateway to heroin use.
Prescription opioids are drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and codeine, distributed under various brand names.
Prevention methods can work to minimize opioid misuse and help to stem the current opioid epidemic gripping the Central New York region.
There are things we can all do to help prevent opioid misuse and opioid overdose.
1. People who need to manage pain can talk to their doctor about options and ways to manage pain that do not include opioids.
2. Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed.
3. Never sell or share prescription opioids.
4. Always store prescription opioids in a secure place, out of reach of others (including children, family, friends, and visitors).
5. Unused portions of prescription opioids can be disposed of at your community drug take-back program, your pharmacy mail-back program, or at any of the drug disposal kiosks in your county.
6. To help prevent accidental prescription opioid overdose, don’t take opioids with alcohol and other medications like Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax®and Valium®), muscle relaxants (such as Soma®or Flexeril®), hypnotics (such as Ambien®or Lunesta®), or other prescription opioids.
For our youth, parents are key in preventing drug use.
When it comes to preventing drug & alcohol misuse, be a parent, not a friend.
Establish boundaries that take a clear stand against drug use. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that the percentage of New York State high school students who reported using heroin more than doubled between 2005 and 2011 (1.8 % to 4%), and in 2017 was reduced by only .6%.
Nationally, one in five teens has taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription one or more times in their life. Current brain research shows that the brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s. Adding chemicals to a developing brain is a very risky endeavor—and one that can lead to health problems and place kids at high risk for addiction, even death.
Our “Stomp Out Stigma” campaign promotes the open discussion of opioid use disorder as a disease of the brain (and not a moral failing) so that people can feel supported in reaching out to get the help they need. It is important that we create a culture in which all people feel that they can share their experiences, struggles, successes, & failures without being judged.
For more information on how you can collaborate with us to help prevent opioid misuse and opioid overdose you can contact the CRARC at 315-697-3947, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.