Drug and Alcohol Overdose Prevention Resources
What are Opioids?
When used as directed by your doctor, opioid medications can safely help control acute pain, such as pain you experience after surgery. There are risks, though, when the medications are used incorrectly.
What opioid medications do:
“Opioids are a broad group of pain-relieving drugs that work by interacting with opioid receptors in your brain. Opioids can be made from a plant (poppy plant) or they can be synthetic, like fentanyl.” (Mayo Clinic, Carrie Krieger, Pharm D)
When opioid medications travel through your blood and attach to opioid receptors in your brain cells, the cells release signals that muffle your perception of pain and boost your feelings of pleasure. However, what makes opioid medications effective in treating pain can also make them dangerous. Prescription medications should always be taken as prescribed. Any pill/medication bought illegally should not ever be considered safe.
Opioid Overdose Facts
Substance use disorders, like opioid overdoses, have significantly impacted our communities. In Nebraska in 2020, there were 214 overdose deaths, a 55% increase from 2019 (Nebraska DHHS).
- Overdose deaths are the leading injury-related cause of death in the United States.
- In 2020, nearly 92,000 people died from drug overdoses, a 31% increase from 2019.
- Of the 2020 overdose deaths, about 75% involved a prescription or illicit opioid.
- Nearly 85% of overdose deaths involved illicitly manufactured fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine (alone or in combination).
Nebraska is not immune from the overdose crisis that we have seen over the last few years. Drug overdoses impact our families, communities, workplaces and our first responders.
An overdose means to have more of a drug (or multiple drugs) in your system than your body can cope with. All drugs have the ability to cause an overdose. If you or a family member are taking medications it is important to know how much you can safely take and how often. Your physician or pharmacist can help if your instructions seem unclear. It is important to take your medication as directed and to keep prescriptions out of reach of others in the house.
Signs of an overdose:
- unresponsive to voice or touch
- slow heartbeat or low blood pressure
- slow or irregular breathing
- pinpoint pupils
- blue lips, skin, or finger nails
What to do if you see someone who may have overdosed?
- Call 911
- Check their breathing
- Try to get a response
- Put them in a recovery position (lay them on their side)
- Start rescue breathing
- Give them Naloxone (Narcan) if it is an opioid overdose
What is Naloxone (Narcan)?
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that can quickly and safely reverse the potential for an opioid overdose. FCHD has a distribution program and training available to our four-county service area. The training, provided by trained staff, seeks to educate, equip individuals, and/or organizations that may encounter or witness an overdose at their location (CDC). This is a community distribution program, in partnership with our providing pharmacies.
Does Nebraska Have a Good Samaritan Law?
Nebraska does have a “Good Samaritan Law.” As a bystander, you can call 911 in the event that you witnessed an overdose and reduces barriers for helping someone.
Request Narcan/Naloxone Training
To request training for your organization or business simply call Four Corners Health Department and ask to speak with the program staff to schedule a training for your organization or company. The training is about 25 minutes with time for questions and answers. FCHD Overdose Prevention Training includes a power point, handouts, posters for your organization to post, sample Naloxone/Narcan policy, and plan for use by staff. The training is offered at no cost.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (402) 362-2621 to schedule a training.
Be the One Before 911
Being in a situation where you are witnessing an overdose can be scary. It is important to administer Naloxone/Narcan as quickly as possible and call 911. Do not leave, by staying to administer aid you will be saving a life.
Pain whether chronic or acute, can be devastating and unfortunately it is a reality for many people. It is important to use effective pain management to reduce pain and help improve function so individuals can enjoy doing what matters most.
Three ways you can safely manage your pain:
- Work with your doctor to make and follow a plan
- Set realistic goals to return to an activity that pain prevents you from doing
- Choose low risk pain relief options
There are many options for pain management that do not include prescription opioids. Some options may work better and have fewer side effects, take time to discuss the options with your physician. Your doctor can help you implement a pain management plan (CDC).
Alcohol misuse is a health risk factor that a person should pay attention too. Alcohol misuse is more than a drink a day for women and two drinks or more for men. There are several adverse health outcomes to overconsuming alcohol. Some of the main concerns around health outcomes include:
- Unintentional injuries (motor vehicle crashes, slips, and falls)
- Violence (domestic situations, homicide or suicide)
- Liver disease, heart disease, and traumatic brain injury
Alcohol misuse use can lead to problems at school and work causing increased: absenteeism, poor work performance, poor academic performance, increased on the job accidents, and increased health care costs.
If you want to know if you need help with your substance use, Four Corners Health Department has a trained professional that can assess your situation, provide the proper treatment plan, and get you back on the road to living safely substance free. Find out how to reach Renee here.
How can I support my friend/family member
Here are some suggestions on how to support someone you know experiencing substance misuse:
- Approach the conversation like you would if asking someone about a physical health issue.
- Talk to them in a safe and comfortable space with minimal distractions.
- Be respectful, compassionate, and empathetic to their feelings by engaging in reflective listening.
- Instead of directing the conversation at them with “you” statements, try to use “I” statements.
- It is OK to say, “I am not sure how I can help but I am here to listen.”
- Be a good listener, be responsive, and make eye contact with a caring approach.
- Allow them to open up and talk but do not press on uncomfortable topics.
- Genuinely express your concerns.
- Offer your support and offer to connect them if you feel that they might need it. Ask, “How can I help?” or “Is there anyone you would like me to call for you?”
- Give the individual hope for recovery and offer encouragement.
Where can I find Narcan near me?
You can go to stopodne.com to find Narcan near you and participating pharmacies across Nebraska.
Is there harm associated with Naloxone (Narcan) when used on someone?
Naloxone (Narcan) will not harm someone if you give it to them and they are not overdosing on an opioid. You still need to call 911 and wait with the person until the first responders arrive.
Why do I need to stay after administering Naloxone (Narcan)?
Naloxone works to reverse opioid overdose in the body for 30 – 90 minutes. But many opioids remain in the body longer. Therefore, one of the most important steps to take is to call 911 and remain until the responders arrive (NIDA).
I am struggling with recovery?
FCHD has a licensed independent mental health provider who is on hand to assist you, or someone you know, every step of the way. Recovery is possible. A life substance-free is a reality. Call for support, 402-362-2621.
How do I get rid of unused medications?
Do not keep leftover medications. You can click the link below “Medication Disposal” to find a location near you to drop off legal or illegal drugs. Everyday is take back day! Or You can call the health department and ask for a DETERRA packet. We will provide to you at no cost and it is a safe medication disposal system that does not leaves toxins behind.
- Stop Overdose NE – Nebraska resource to services and pharmacies
- Narcan – Harm reduction and training
- Opioids – CDC Opioid Basics and Data Trends
- Acύte para prevenir la adicción – CDC Spanish
- Drug Overdose Prevention – Nebraska DHHS
- Life or Meth – Nebraska Attorney General’s Website
- Stop Overdose – CDC information on drugs, stigma & recovery
- Mental Wellness – Four Corners Health Department, provider resources
- Rx Awareness – CDC Recovery is Possible
- Medication Safety – Safe Kids Worldwide
- Drug-Impaired Driving – National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
- Medication Disposal – How to get rid of leftover/expired medications or drugs