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. Seatbelts, much like fire extinguishers, are there to protect us during a life-threatening emergency. If opioids are in your home or someone’s you love, having naloxone available in the event of an accidental overdose can help save a life.
There are many reasons for opioid overdose emergencies and most often, they are accidental. Anyone taking a prescription opioid or living with opioid use disorder (OUD) or dependence, should have an at-home safety plan in place:
- Are your opioids in a locked cabinet, away from children?
- Have you learned to recognize an overdose?
- Do you have naloxone ready in a spot everyone knows?
- Reverse the silence by talking to your family, friends and healthcare providers.
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.
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. Knowing the signs of an opioid overdose is essential to responding quickly.
- Breath 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 a medication designed to immediately help reverse an opioid overdose. It’s an opioid antagonist, meaning that it binds to the same receptors as the opioid, blocking and reversing its effects. It can restore breathing after it has slowed or stopped. Naloxone is available to keep on hand and comes in the form of a nasal spray and injectable solution.
Who is naloxone for?
If opioids are in your home, or if you know anyone taking opioids and want to be prepared, ask your doctor or pharmacist about naloxone as part of an opioid safety plan.
Where to get naloxone?
You can purchase naloxone at the pharmacy. All states have access laws that allow pharmacists to provide naloxone without a prescription from your doctor.
Let’s Reverse the Silence Together.
By joining forces with a common mission, Emergent BioSolutions, together with national non-profit organizations, aims to not only raise awareness, but to raise our voices until everyone hears our message: we can no longer allow the stigma of opioid overdose to silence people from talking, and we can help with education, collaboration and ongoing support for those living with Substance Use Disorder and/or Opioid Use Disorder.
SAFE Project is a national nonprofit working to bring nonpartisan opioid awareness, education, and solutions directly to communities nationwide.
Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA), founded in loving memory of two children lost to prescription opioid overdoses, is dedicated to preventing other families from facing the same tragedy.
Shatterproof is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in the United States through three pillars of work: revolutionizing addiction treatment, ending addiction stigma, and supporting and empowering our communities.
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is the nation’s leading substance use and misuse prevention organization with a mission of creating safe, healthy and drug-free communities.
Only by raising our voices, can we raise hope.
For our loved ones in communities across the country,
in our workplaces, in our very own homes — let’s be prepared to
address an opioid overdose.