03 Jun How to Prevent Drug Overdose?
The recurrence of opioid overdose in the United States has been excessive, owing to a vast number of reasons. The cases of death by accidental drug overdose is now considered as a national emergency as it greatly outnumbers even the most challenging issues such as the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, the illegal possession of firearms, and DUI car accidents.
The scourge of opioid deaths in 2017 recorded more fatalities in the United States than the Vietnam War in its entirety. Yet, more opiate overdose cases are recorded massively every year. The long-fought war against drug abuse continues to intensify, with the implementation of more targeted strategies to bring an end to the leading cause of death – overdosing.
Many individuals who are directly affected by addiction to drugs often fail to adopt the system of rehabilitation for the prevention of overdosing or treatment due to the stigma associated with the modern-day dispensation. However, overdose death can easily be averted by making a simple choice to seek professional, evidence-based solutions.
Drug Overdose Trends in the US
Millions of drug overdose deaths have been accounted for in the United States over the years. Opioid use is identified as the leading cause of death in the US. Here are the key findings on opioid overdose statistics:
- The death cases recorded in 2017 was about 70,237
- Death cases in 2018 declined by 4.1% with a total of 67,367
- The deaths attributed to the use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl overdose increased by 10% from 2017 to 2018
- 2012 to 2018 recorded a tripled rate of cocaine deaths as well as a five-fold increase in deaths related to the use of psychostimulants
- Individuals within the age range of 25 to 44 were the most affected in the opioid overdose trend
- 64,000 drug overdose deaths were reported in 2016
- About two-thirds of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved medical and non medical use of prescription drugs.
Causes of American Overdose Crisis
What is an overdose? Generally, an overdose is a dosage that is higher than the recommended or prescribed dosage. An excess of any drug or substance can lead to severe side effects and, in some cases, death, depending on the potency of the substance.
An overdosed person can be saved with timely medical intervention. The issue, however, is the causes of the recurrent overdose crisis. Medical practitioners have a role to play in a prescription drug overdose. Although the underlying reason for the increasing drug problem is in demand. Today, there are many reasons why people use opioids in spite of the obvious dangers. Some of the causes of illicit use include:
- Peer pressure
- Lack of economic opportunities
- Physical and mental abuse
- Addiction to prescription medication
- High illegal production and supply to the slums
Fentanyl deaths are increasingly popular as most illegal distributors adulterate the drugs with fentanyl. The user may be completely unaware of the fentanyl composition as these drugs are produced in clandestine locations.
Common Signs of Overdose in a Person
An overdose medication can be fatal or at least present with very severe symptoms. In the case of Opioids, the resultant effects are often dire. How can you tell if a person is exhibiting signs of a drug overdose? Here are some symptoms of a drug overdose
- Chest pains
- Dilated pupils
- Blue lips and fingers
- Shallow breath or difficulty in breathing
- Vomiting and nausea
- Blocked airways causing to gurgling sounds
- Disorientation and confusion
These symptoms may vary from one person to the other. Not all of these symptoms are exhibited; however, when a few of them are noticed, it is likely a case of a drug overdose.
An overdose can occur for different reasons besides taking dosages higher than the prescribed one. Concomitant use of medications with other substances may escalate the effects of the drug.
Best Solutions to Prevent Overdose
The obvious way to prevent overdose is to avoid highly potent medications such as opioids. Other ways to prevent overdose may include:
- Seeking more information on the risks of the drug in order to make the best choices
- Avoid mixtures of drugs and combined use with other substances such as alcohol
- Starting your medication with a low dose
- Tapering off the medication when you notice signs of dependency on the medication
- Seeking drug overdose treatment on emergencies
- Talk to your medical doctor about drug overdose treatment and the use of Opioid agonist therapy such as Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naloxone
- Visit an Overdose prevention centers such as Supervised Consumption Services (SCS)