Knowing the Signs Can Help Prevent Drug Overdose Deaths
Today is International Overdose Awareness Day
Marking International Overdose Awareness Day, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) today called on state residents to take action to end drug overdose deaths by learning the signs of an overdose and how to respond. Different drugs require different medical interventions and responses. For example, naloxone is the proven method of reversing an opioid overdose but it does not work for a stimulant like cocaine, which requires reassuring the patient, putting them in a comfortable position, and making sure they don’t get overheated. All drug overdoses are a medical emergency. Call 911 if you suspect someone is experiencing a drug overdose.
“Drug overdose is a significant public health issue in Wisconsin, with devastating impacts on individuals, families, and communities,” said DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm. “Hundreds of people from all walks of life die or experience a permanent injury each year from a drug overdose in our state. These deaths and injuries are preventable and help is available.”
The #EndOverdose campaign has useful tips on how to recognize and respond to overdoses involving the following drugs:
- Depressants:(link is external) includes benzodiazepines, barbiturates
- Opioids:(link is external) includes oxycodone, morphine, codeine, heroin, fentanyl, methadone, and opium
- Stimulants:(link is external) includes amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy
According to the DHS Wisconsin Drug Overdose Death Dashboard, overdose deaths involving all drugs, excluding alcohol, increased by 10.5% in 2019, driven primarily by a nearly 10% increase in overdose deaths involving opioids.
There is evidence that the stress and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to more harmful drug use. Preliminary numbers show that suspected opioid overdose Emergency Department (ED) visits increased 41% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin compared to the same time period in 2019. There were 1,688 suspected opioid overdose ED visits from March through July of this year, compared to 1,196 suspected overdose visits during the same period in 2019.
“Taking care of yourself and others may be more challenging right now,” Palm said. “It is okay to ask for help. Help is available. Treatment for harmful drug use works. Recovery is possible.”
Those struggling with any type of drug use can call 211 for the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline. Operated by 211 Wisconsin through a grant from DHS, this free and confidential service has handled nearly 10,000 calls since it launched in October 2018.
Resilient Wisconsin, a DHS effort launched in April to help Wisconsin residents find healthy ways to cope with life’s challenges, features a directory of other helplines, hotlines, and virtual support meetings for people struggling with any type of drug use.
To expand access to treatment services for harmful drug use, DHS will also be piloting a hub and spoke model to treating substance use disorders. This approach will link the expertise of regional addiction medicine specialists with local clinics and primary care providers to manage the individuals’ unique health and treatment needs and connect them with appropriate levels of care.
- Memorial Remembers Victims of Opioid Addiction - Edgar Mendez - Sep 2nd, 2021
- Ortiz-Velez Resolution Supporting Fentanyl Testing Strip Legalization Adopted by County Board - Sup. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez - Jul 29th, 2021
- Baldwin Calls For Rejecting Purdue Pharmacy Bankruptcy Plan - Isiah Holmes - Jul 27th, 2021
- County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson Applauds National Settlement in Opioids Lawsuits - County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson - Jul 22nd, 2021
- Supervisor Ortiz-Velez Resolution Supporting Fentanyl Testing Strip Legalization Advances - Sup. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez - Jul 19th, 2021
- State May Get $65 million in Opioid Settlement - Shamane Mills - Jul 9th, 2021
- Opioid Abuse is Overdose ‘Russian Roulette’ - Edgar Mendez - Jul 2nd, 2021
- Milwaukee Legislators Push Legalizing Fentanyl Test Strips - Graham Kilmer - Jun 28th, 2021
- Two California Men Charged with Conspiring and Attempting to Distribute Sixteen Kilograms of Fentanyl and Fourteen Kilograms of Cocaine in the Milwaukee Area - U.S. Department of Justice - Jun 22nd, 2021
- Milwaukee Overdose Map Shows Deadly Toll of Fentanyl - Isiah Holmes - Jun 21st, 2021
Read more about Opioid Crisis here
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