Combat Opioid Overdose: Know the Symptoms and Signs of Opioid Abuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the significant rise in opioid painkiller addiction has caused the worst epidemic in the history of the US. The rate of opioids overdose has caused huge number of deaths between 1999 and 2011. In 2011 alone, over 16,917 Americans died due to serious overdoses of opioids. In addition, the use of opioids is strongly connected to overuse of heroin as well as other adverse results in public health. In 2014, it became mandatory to prevent opioid overdose by the CDC.

Even though the crisis of opioid painkiller is often considered as an issue of non-medical abuse, it is announced as the catastrophe of addiction according to the Annual Review of Public Health. The addiction in non-medical and medical users has the most adverse results.

So, it is vital to look for healthcare professional resources for opioid users and to consider the magnitude of the opioid epidemic. The public health professionals should address the effects and complex causes.

The Leading Causes

Increase in prescriptions is the main cause of opioid addiction. In 2012, healthcare providers prescribed over 259 million painkillers and bottle of pills for every adult.  Health problems causing pain may not vary from one place to another.

Some debates call for more restrictions on prescriptions and there is no strong data which supports the opioids usage for chronic pain over the acute and short-term pain. Painkillers may be vital to treat pain. According to the estimates, over 100 million Americans suffer chronic pain and it would be devastating to withhold the painkillers from patients with legitimate symptoms.

Dealing with Opioid Addiction

Education, awareness, and resources are vital to deal with the opioid crisis. This way, public health professionals are helpful to fight against opioid addiction symptoms. 

There are many options for rehabs: private facilities as well as state sponsored facilities. There are also no cost rehabs which are free through the state. Most rehabs consist of 30, 60, & 90 day programs. Websites such as provide you with multiple tools to find rehab centers near you, as well as a "state funded" treatment guide.

Symptoms of Overdose

If you are using opioids, you are at the risk of overdose or overmedication if you use it too much. If you haven’t taken opioids, you are even more likely to suffer overdose or overmedication.

Common Signs of Overmedication 

  • Problem in waking up
  • Extreme drowsiness or problem in staying active
  • Stumbling while walking, slurred speech, confusion, or dizziness

Signs of Overdose 

  • Lifelessness, limpness
  • Problem in waking up or problem in speaking or staying awake
  • Problem in breathing, such as shallow breathing, or periods when breathing stops
  • Stopped or slow heartbeat
  • Clammy or pale skin, or blue lips or fingernails

How to Dispose of Opioids Safely

Opioids are the effective pain relievers prescribed by the doctors for chronic and acute pain management. Opioids generally come in the form of tablet or pills and they can be taken orally. Doctors often prescribe potent opioid in patch form. It's recommended to dispose of opioids after your prescribed amount of time to lessen the likelihood of opioid abuse.

Most people have problems in disposing of opioids. This way, you can consult with your nearest waste management company to find out if your community has a take-back program. Both patch and pill forms of opioids come with instructions to flush unused medications to avoid illegal abuse or unwanted use.