Do you or someone you know
take prescription opioids?
have a dependence on opioids?
have children or other household members with opioids present?
live with concurrent medical conditions, including liver disease, lung disease, HIV, and depression?
take opioids with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other sedatives?
take injectable opioids?
If so, there may be a risk of opioid overdose.
Know the Numbers
It’s estimated that…
It Could Happen to Anyone Taking an Opioid.
Accidental overdoses don’t discriminate. A life-threatening overdose is a risk for anyone taking opioids, with or without a prescription.
In Case of an Opioid Emergency,
Are You Prepared?
Accidents happen. And with opioid overdoses being the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Naloxone, much like a seatbelt or fire extinguisher, is intended to protect us during a life-threatening emergency. If you or someone you know is taking opioids, having naloxone available in the event of an opioid emergency can save a life.
There are many reasons for opioid overdose emergencies and most often, they are accidental. Anyone taking an opioid for medical or non-medical use, should have a safety plan in place:
- Store opioids in a locked cabinet, away from children.
- Know the signs and symptoms of an overdose.
- Be ready to rescue by keeping naloxone in a place everyone knows.
- Break the stigma by talking to your family and friends.
- Dispose of unused opioids. Click here to learn more.
What Are Opioids?
Prescription opioid pain medicine, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, is used to treat chronic pain. They calm the body and block pain by binding to receptors in the brain. Even when they are used as directed, the risk of an opioid overdose emergency remains.
What makes opioid medications effective for treating pain can also make them dangerous. In an opioid overdose emergency, your breathing and heart rate can slow or even stop, which can lead to death.
It is important to note that the use of opioids without a prescription is considered “illicit use,” and may include “street drugs” like heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, all of which are significantly more potent than prescription-grade agents.
Understand Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) or Dependence
Opioids trigger the release of endorphins. This release of endorphins muffles the perception of pain and boost feelings of pleasure, creating a temporary but powerful sense of well-being. When an opioid dose wears off, you may find yourself wanting those good feelings back, as soon as possible. This may lead to dependence and addiction. Addiction may also be the result of physiologic changes in the brain which creates a powerful need for more of the opioid.
A person is at risk of developing a dependance to opioids after 3-5 days of taking a prescribed pain reliever.
Learn the Signs & Symptoms of an Opioid Overdose
An overdose is a serious emergency event, so every second is important. Brain damage can set in after just 4 minutes without breathing and can be followed by death as soon as 4-6 minutes later. Knowing the signs of an opioid overdose is essential to responding quickly.
- Breathing becomes slow, irregular, or ceases
- Lips and fingernails turn blue
- Pupils drastically shrink in size
- Heartbeat and blood pressure decline
- Skin goes cold
- Ability to respond or awaken disappears
…They may be having an overdose.
What is naloxone?
Naloxone is an emergency medication designed to immediately help reverse an opioid overdose. It can restore breathing after it has slowed or stopped. Naloxone is the standard of care in an opioid emergency and can save a life.
How does naloxone work?
Naloxone competes with opioids to bind with the same receptors in the brain, reversing the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes. This allows time for emergency medical help to arrive.
Be sure to use as directed and always call 911 immediately after giving the first dose of naloxone.
Where can I get naloxone?
Naloxone is available over the counter and can be purchased online or at a retailer near you.Click here to Learn MoreDon’t have the means to purchase? Access your state and local resources to learn how to obtain this life-saving medication.