Opioid overdoses are on the rise. Every year the statistics are showing that more and more people are dying from opioid abuse. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), 91 people overdose every day in America. Millions of dollars are being spent in an effort to curb this epidemic in the form of education, substance abuse treatment, and new pharmaceutical interventions.
Naloxone, first created in the 1961, is now being used as a powerful agent to counteract the effects of opioid withdrawal and opioid overdose. This drug is used for several different purposes. Naloxone blocks opioid receptors in the brain and reversing the effects of prescription opioids, heroin, or fentanyl in order to save lives.
Overdoses: What to do
An opioid overdose can cause death quickly. Symptoms can appear as unconsciousness or being unresponsive, slowed breathing, pinpoint pupils, vomiting, purple or blue lips, and vomiting in or around the mouth. If any of these are present and you suspect opioid abuse, call 911 immediately.
Narcan: Injection and Nasal Spray
If you have a dose of Narcan and have been trained in how to administer it, inject or apply the nasal spray after calling 911. Narcan works by reversing the nervous system and respiratory depression that opioid use causes.
Naltrexone and Naloxone: Harm Reduction
Naltrexone is often used on its own as a harm reduction agent for opioid or alcohol abuse. It’s most commonly used as Vivitrol in a time-released form and blocks opioid receptors and limits the function of alcohol on the brain for 30 day periods.
Naloxone is often combined with Buprenorphine in the form of Suboxone and used as a daily treatment for opioid dependence. It can be used to aid in withdrawal during the detox process or it can be taken daily as a replacement therapy without the consequences or mind-altering effects of opioids. This is known as MAT (Medically Assisted Treatment).
Treatment with JourneyPure
JourneyPure has worked with many clients that have survived an opioid overdose. We have inpatient facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida. We have various levels of care that function in treating the needs of every client. All of our care is individualized with intensive one-on-one therapy and group activities to encourage clients to learn to enjoy life, function in a peer setting, and grow towards lifelong recovery.
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Chris Clancy is the in-house Content Manager for JourneyPure’s Digital Marketing team, where he gets to explore a wide variety of substance abuse- and mental health-related topics. He has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist and researcher, with strong working knowledge of hospital systems, health insurance, content strategy, and public relations. He lives in Nashville with his wife and two kids.