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Opioids

In 2020, nearly 92,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Of those deaths, nearly 75% involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States.

 

Talk to your doctor about ways to manage your pain that do not involve prescription opioids. Some of these options may actually work better and have fewer risks and side effects. Depending on the type of pain you are experiencing, options may include:

 

-Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (Advil®)

-Cognitive behavioral therapy – a psychological, goal-directed approach in which patients learn how to modify physical, behavioral, and emotional triggers of pain and stress

-Exercise therapy, including physical therapy

-Medications for depression or for seizures

-Interventional therapies (injections)

-Exercise and weight loss

-Other therapies such as acupuncture and massage

-If available and appropriate - medical marijuana

 

Recognizing an opioid overdose can be difficult. If you aren’t sure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose—you could save a life. Call 911 or seek medical care for the individual. Do not leave the person alone. Signs of an overdose may include:

 

Opioid Overdose Symptoms:

 

-Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”

-Falling asleep or loss of consciousness

-Slow, shallow breathing

-Choking or gurgling sounds

-Limp body

-Pale, blue, or cold ski

 

Reverse Overdose to Prevent Death with NALOXONE

 

Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications.

 

Expand access to and use of naloxone – a non-addictive, life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered in time.

 

Access to naloxone can be expanded through:

 

-Standing orders at pharmacies

-Distribution through local, community-based organizations

-Access and use by law enforcement officials

-Training for basic emergency medical service staff on how to administer the drug

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