Throughout the month of August, Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) will be promoting its “Friends Take Care of Friends” overdose prevention campaign.
In support of that campaign, we all need to be educated on what an overdose is, how it happens, and what we all can do.
Opioid overdose has contributed significantly to accidental deaths among those who use or misuse illicit and prescription opioids. Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin, as well as prescription medications used to treat pain. Opioids work by binding to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. In doing so, they minimize the body’s perception of pain. However, stimulating the opioid receptors or “reward centers” in the brain can also trigger other systems of the body, such as those responsible for regulating mood, breathing, and blood pressure.
A variety of effects can occur after a person takes opioids, ranging from pleasure to nausea, vomiting, severe allergic reactions, and overdose, in which breathing and heartbeat slow or even stop.
Opioid overdose can occur when a patient deliberately misuses a prescription opioid or an illicit drug such as heroin. It can also occur when a patient takes an opioid as directed, but the prescriber miscalculated the opioid dose or an error was made by the dispensing pharmacist or the patient misunderstood the directions for use. Below are five strategies to prevent overdose deaths:
As we encourage and support those in our individual circles, we continue to move in the direction of raising awareness.
Since 1974, Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC), a United Way partner agency, has provided pre-vention education and community awareness regarding alcohol and other drugs. CASAC is the only New York State Office of Alcohol-ism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) approved and supported alcohol and other drug prevention agency in Chautauqua Coun-ty. For further information about CASAC's programs and services, call the Jamestown office at 664-3608, the Dunkirk office at 366-4623, or go to CASAC's website, www.casacweb.org.