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How to Recognize and Honor National Opioid Awareness Day


September 21 is National Opioid Awareness Day, an important time for people recovering from opioid addiction and their loved ones. This day is a reminder that substance use can impact anyone, and everybody should learn about the effects of opioid use disorder.

If you are not sure how to recognize National Opioid Awareness Day, we are here to help you understand the need for this observance, explain the concern with opioids, and give you some ideas to show your support.

What Are Opioids?

are drugs that are derived from poppy plants or are synthetically designed to mimic those drugs. They can come in the form of pills, oral solutions, injections, or patches.

These drugs include:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone

Opioids are often given to patients for the treatment of pain, but they can become highly addictive, even when used as prescribed.

What Happens During an Opioid Overdose?

When someone overdoses on opioids, they often experience severe difficulty with breathing. They might even stop breathing entirely, which can lead to an overdose death.

You can identify an opioid overdose by looking for these signs:

  • A limp body
  • An extremely pale face
  • Purple coloring on fingernails or lips
  • Vomiting
  • A slowed heartbeat
  • Unresponsiveness

Can You Save the Life of Someone Who Has Overdosed?

If you or a medical professional can reach someone soon enough after an overdose, it is possible to save their life. Basic life support like CPR can keep them breathing until help arrives.

In life-threatening cases, the drug naloxone (commonly known by the brand name NARCAN®) is an opioid antidote that can reverse the effects of an overdose. and can often be purchased over the counter. If you know someone who is at risk for opioid overdose, you can carry naloxone in case of an emergency.

What Is National Opioid Awareness Day?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 125,000 people died from opioid overdoses worldwide in 2019. This does not include the staggering number of overdoses that, thankfully, did not end in death.

With opioid addiction affecting hundreds of thousands of people and their loved ones, it is important to take National Opioid Awareness Day to work toward addressing the issue.

How to Recognize and Show Support

Many people are not sure how to recognize Opioid Awareness Day, but there are several different ways you can show your support:

1. Learn About Opioid Addiction and Treatment

Take some time to research how opioids are made, why they are addictive, and what treatments are used to help those struggling with opioid use. Becoming informed on the subject is a great way to show respect for individuals and loved ones dealing with the effects of opioid addiction.

2. Petition for Better Drug Management

Find local groups that advocate for people with opioid use disorders and attend a meeting or help them petition authorities for laws that protect people from ever developing an addiction.

3. Volunteer Your Time

Find a local treatment center that helps people working toward addiction recovery. Volunteering will help you learn more about the issue, and you will be able to serve people who struggle with opioid use and their loved ones.

4. Become CPR-Certified

CPR could help save the life of someone who has overdosed and stopped breathing. Becoming certified ensures you will be ready if you ever need to help someone breathe until emergency responders can get there.

5. Learn About Naloxone

Naloxone is readily available in every state, but you should take the time to understand your state’s rules regarding the drug. Learn how to administer naloxone in an emergency and decide whether to carry it with you.

Spreading Information Could Save Lives

Raising awareness may seem simple, but it can prevent overdoses and save lives. Taking opioids for as little as five days can increase the risk of long-term use and addiction, so it is important to teach people about the dangers of opioids and how to use them responsibly if they are ever prescribed them for pain relief.

Educating people on what an opioid overdose looks like can help them identify when someone needs immediate medical attention, which could also save lives.

Don’t Struggle Alone: Contact BAART Programs

Opioid addiction recovery is a difficult process, but those who are struggling do not have to do it on their own. There are addiction treatment specialists that can help people navigate the road to recovery.

BAART Programs is an opioid treatment program that will support you every step along the way. If someone you love needs help with opioid use disorder, reach out to our team and get the guidance they need.

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