Julie Naughton, Office of Communications, (402) 471-1695 (office); (402) 405-7202 (cell);
Lincoln – National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, a week-long health observance dedicated to inspiring dialogue about drug use and addiction, is being held March 21-27.
“Substance use disorder (SUD) occurs when a person’s use of drugs or alcohol results in health issues or problems in their work, school, or home life,” said Dr. Gary Anthone, chief medical officer and director of the Division of Public Health at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). “Education and awareness around the harm of using substances, along with the support of friends, parents, and caregivers, can help prevent SUD.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 14 Americans reports experiencing a substance use disorder. “The week-long awareness provides an opportunity to improve prevention in Nebraska’s communities,” said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “Treatment is available and recovery is possible. Normalizing the conversation about substance use disorder prevention, treatment, and recovery will not only reduce stigma but also empower individuals to seek help and find support.”
Drug and Alcohol Facts you should know:
- The use of more than one drug, also known as polysubstance use, is common.
- One packet of sugar is the same size as 16 methamphetamine “meth” doses.
- Nicotine in any form is highly addictive, and many who start using one form of nicotine such as vaping transition to another.
- Alcohol is the number one substance of use and abuse in Nebraska based on treatment data.
- Even though an individual may know using drugs may be unhealthy for them, coping with trauma, enhancing performance, experiencing the feeling of pleasure or a “high” are common reasons people may use drugs.
- The component of cannabis (marijuana) plant that is psychotropic, or produces a “high” is called THC. Medical research shows that up to one in five medical marijuana users develop an addiction to cannabis (cannabis use disorder).
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is commonly mixed with other drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Drugs may contain deadly levels of fentanyl, and you wouldn’t be able to see it, taste it, or smell it.
- According to the CDC, approximately 1.6 million Americans are living with opioid use disorder.
- Opioid overdose deaths can be prevented with naloxone, a medicine that can reverse the effects of an overdose within two to three minutes in a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of an opioid overdose. More than one dose of naloxone may be required when stronger opioids like fentanyl are involved. The Division of Behavioral Health has distributed 5,737 Narcan (naloxone) kits under its current State Opioid Response grant.
There are many ways to find naloxone. You can find the list of free naloxone providers by going to https://dhhs.ne.gov/Behavioral%20Health%20Documents/NaloxoneMap.pdf . The most up-to-date list of participating pharmacies is on the Nebraska Pharmacist Association’s Stop-Overdose-Nebraska website (https://stopodne.com/ ). The OpiRescue App (https://opirescue.com/download ) will guide you step by step on how to administer naloxone.
Under Nebraska law, any person, who in good faith, administers naloxone to someone they reasonably believe is suffering an opioid-related overdose is protected from criminal or administrative actions.
Under Nebraska law, a person who makes a good faith 911 call in response to a drug overdose of another person or for themselves, remains at the scene until emergency personnel arrive, and cooperates with medical and law enforcement personnel is not in violation of the statutes prohibiting possession or distribution of a controlled substance or possession of drug paraphernalia if the only evidence of these crimes is obtained as a result of the drug overdose and the 911 call.
Under Nebraska law, a bystander who provides care during an emergency has protection from payment of civil damages for any harm caused by the care or lack of care.
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis? Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 para Español
- Your faith-based leader, your healthcare professional, or student health center on campus.
- Nebraska Family Helpline – Any question, any time. (888) 866-8660
- Rural Response Hotline, (800) 464-0258
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 (oprime dos para Español) or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)