CDC Launches Further Education Campaigns To Save More Lives From Drug Overdose
To save more lives from a drug overdose, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched four complementary education campaigns aimed at reaching young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. Campaigns provide information on the prevalence and dangers of fentanyl, the risks and consequences of mixing drugs, the life-saving power of naloxone, and the importance of reducing the stigma surrounding drug use to support treatment and recovery. .
The CDC spoke directly with young adults who reported using drugs, as well as peer recovery professionals, to develop the campaigns. Each campaign includes new resources on all four topics to help people make informed decisions, get the help they need, and ultimately reduce the increase in drug overdoses and overdose deaths. .
“This vital information can help us all save lives from overdose and support people who use drugs in treatment and recovery,” said Debra Houry, MD, MPH, Acting Senior Deputy Director of CDC.
Illegal drugs are more potent and potentially deadly than ever before, as many can be mixed or mixed with illegally made fentanyl without a person’s knowledge. Fentanyl, an extremely potent synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, and other synthetic opioids contribute to most opioid-related overdose deaths. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is increasingly found in counterfeit prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit drugs. It is almost impossible to tell if drugs have been mixed with fentanyl without the use of fentanyl test strips because it cannot be seen, smelled or tasted.
People who use drugs can use many different substances, and this mixture of drugs can be even more harmful than when used separately. Mixing stimulants; such as ecstasy and cocaine; increases the risk of stroke and heart attack, while mixing opioids with other depressants; such as benzodiazepines (“benzos”) and / or alcohol ; may slow breathing, which can lead to severe brain damage or death. Bottom line, there is no safe way to mix the drugs. Even if you have mixed medicines before, your body may react differently each time.
Naloxone is a life-saving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. Often given as a nasal spray, naloxone can restore normal breathing in a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to opioids, including fentanyl, if given in time. Anyone can carry naloxone, give it to someone who has overdosed, and potentially save a life.
Naloxone is available in all 50 states and Washington, DC, and is available at many local pharmacies without a prescription in most states. Good Samaritan laws are in place in most states to protect those who overdose and anyone helping them in an emergency from arrests, charges, or a combination of these.
One in 14 Americans report having a substance use disorder. However, the stigma associated with drug use can be a significant barrier to getting help. Showing compassion for people who use drugs and offering support during their treatment and recovery are ways to reduce stigma. Pathways to recovery include treatment with medication for opioid use disorders, as well as behavioral therapies. Treatment is available in many settings – in person, online, through telehealth visits, – treatment can be individual or group.
“Drug addiction is a treatable disease,” said Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, DrPH, MPH, acting director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “And while recovery isn’t always a straightforward path, it is possible. Talking with a health care provider to develop a treatment plan that works best for that person and connect to other services and supports can help recovery. “
A crucial step for prevention
Drug overdoses have claimed nearly 900,000 lives in the United States. over the past 20 years. Recent reports show that drug overdose deaths have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing overdose death rates of all previous years. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl was the main contributor to the almost 30% increase in overdose deaths. By sharing campaigns and related resources with youth between the ages of 18 and 34 who use drugs, we are taking an important step to end drug overdoses and save lives.