There is an Overdose Epidemic
- One person dies every 19 minutes from unintentional drug overdose (Paulozzi, 2012).
- Pennsylvania is among the ten states with the highest opioid use and overdose rates (Paulozzi, 2012).
- For the years 1999—2007, drug-induced deaths were second only to motor vehicle fatalities (CDC, 2010).
- Opioid overdose is preventable and treatable (reversible) through the use of naloxone (UNODC, 2013).
What is Overdose?
- Definition of Overdose: When a drug is eaten, inhaled, injected, or absorbed through the skin in excessive amounts and injures the body (CDC, 2013).
- Pharmaceuticals are the most common cause for overdose, but overdose can be caused by a variety of (or a combination of) legal and illegal drugs.
- Overdose can result in permanent brain and organ damage, and can result in death.
- In 2010, pharmaceuticals were involved in 57.7% of overdose fatalities, and 24.6% involved only unspecified drugs (Jones, 2010).
Community Solutions Exist
- Community-based overdose initiatives have demonstrated reduced overdose deaths (Albert, 2011).
- Active participation from a coalition of community partners is required for a successful public health campaign (Albert, 2011).
- Healthcare professionals and Substance Use Disorder treatment staff are an important part of the recovery community.
Naloxone is Saving Lives
- Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose (i.e. prescription pain medications or heroin).
- Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids during an overdose, and restores breathing in 2-8 minutes.
- Physicians can prescribe naloxone to anyone (including friends and family members) who might need to reverse an opioid overdose.
- Any pharmacy in Pennsylvania should be able to fill a naloxone prescription (DDAP, 2014).
- Pennsylvania has a standing order in place enabling pharmacies to dispense naloxone to the general public without a prescription (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 2015): Pennsylvania Department of Health Naloxone Standing Order
Recovery is Possible
- Pennsylvania is moving toward a Recovery-Oriented System of Care (ROSC), an integrated Substance Use Disorder treatment model (PDAC, 2010).
- In a ROSC, treatment and recovery support services are integrated into a single, seamless continuum of care driven by individual needs (PDAC, 2010).
- A better future emerges from the hope that recovery is real (SAMHSA, 2012).
- Family, friends and peers are an essential support network for an individual in recovery.