Middle Schoolers Learn To Save Someone From Heroin Overdose

Because of the widespread epidemic of opiate addiction (which includes both heroin and prescription pain pills) officials are doing their best to spread the word about Naloxone, a drug that can help reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. So far, the following organizations have been working hard to educate the public about this life-saving medication:

  • The American Medical Association
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine
  • The American Association of Poison Control Centers
  • The Office of National Drug Control Policy
  • The World Health Organization
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration

Because thousands of men, women, and teens are addicted to opiates, spreading the word about a safe drug can potentially save many lives! And recently a medically trained fire fighter spoke to Southside Middle School in Manchester, New Hampshire for the same reason. Chris Hickey, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training officer for the Manchester Fire Department in New Hampshire was interviewed by the ABC News television program 20/20.

Hickey began his talk to the sixth graders by asking them if they had ever seen a hypodermic needle before. Some of the students said they had. At one point in his talk, Hickey invited a student to practice administering the drug into each nostril of his nose. For the demonstration, they used saline solution. However, one of the great benefits of Naloxone is that it can be easily administered and has minimal effects on people who have not used heroin. This is why public officials are okay with spreading the news about this medication – even to middle schoolers. Naloxone is not a drug that can be abused in any way.

Essentially, the drug only works on those who have heroin in their system. The drug can be administered through injection or intra-nasally. It contains specific opioid receptor antagonists that can reverse an opioid overdose. When someone is experiencing an overdose, Naloxone temporarily blocks the opiate effects, allowing a person to breathe again long enough for help to arrive. In fact, the drug has been used for decades among medical professionals and it has saved thousands of lives. Now that the epidemic of opiate addiction is becoming more severe, more and more of those in the helping professions want Naloxone to be well known.

Some might argue that children who are 11 and 12 years old are too young to know about heroin addiction, overdose, and how to administer a life-saving drug.  However, the truth is, heroin and prescription pain pills can affect a child at all ages – even at infancy. Frequently, children are born positive to heroin or meth or other illicit drugs. And the youngest known heroin addict on record is a child who is 11 years of age.

Furthermore, Hickey commented in the interview that he is pleased to be speaking to middle schoolers about this topic. He feels he is saving lives by providing important education on a medication that can reverse the fatal effects of overdose.

Perhaps these children are young, but they are old enough to understand the effects of the drug. And in an emergency, they may be able to save the life of a friend or loved one.

 

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Heroin Overdose Doesn’t Stop Some Addicts

Listen to the news and you’ll hear news reporters, commentators, and even politicians talking about opiate drug use and overdose. In fact, it’s become such a hot topic that heroin and prescription drugs are going to be in the upcoming presidential debate. The issue of prescription drug use has become so severe for the United States that there are people who actually overdose on opiates. By miracle, their lives are saved. But instead of using that near death as a sign to go into treatment, they end up finding another way to get high. It seems once you’re hooked there are no limits to the damage prescription drugs and heroin can do. This points to the severe stronghold that heroin and other opiates can have on a person once they start using.

Opiate addiction is sometimes also called opioid use disorder. It is considered to be an illness, an addiction to heroin and other substances that contain opioids, such as prescription drugs. Types of prescription medication that men, women, and teens can get hooked on include morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. As with other addictions, one of the primary symptoms of opiate addiction is that there is compulsive use of the drug despite the severe consequences that can come with continued use. Often, with this type of addiction there is both a physical dependency as well as a psychological dependency.

The amount of people hooked on heroin and other opiates have increased dramatically in the last 15 years. In 2013, opiate addiction resulted in 51,000 deaths whereas in 1990 there were 18,000 people who died from their opiate use. Furthermore, the number of hospital stays related to opiate use has gone up 5% annually from 1993-2012. And the number of those admitted to emergency rooms due to an issue related to opiate use went up from 43% in 1993 to 64% in 2005. Since then, this number has stayed relatively the same.

More recently, research has shown that those who tend to have an addiction to heroin or prescription drugs also have one or more psychological illnesses. It’s very common for this type of addiction to develop because of self-medication. In other words, a person might be searching for a way to escape emotional turmoil and turn to this substance for relief. Furthermore, this type of substance does extremely well in relieving one of pain. For this reason, there might be more of a hook for someone to turn to it to presumably cope with their lives. Therefore, when this medication is prescribed to relieve one’s physical pain, there is an immediate attraction. However, those addicted to the substance tend to develop an addiction not so much because of the physical pain relief but because of the euphoria that opiates can induce in someone. In fact, as mentioned above, this experience of euphoria might be so rewarding for someone that even if they lose their lives briefly because of the drug, they are willing to return again and again for the high.

As this article points out, opiate use and abuse is incredibly dangerous. If you or someone you know is regularly using heroin or misusing their prescription pain medication, contact a mental health provider. Doing so may save a life!

 

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Halfway House Help to Ease America’s Heroin Epidemic

America's Heroin Epidemic on the Rise | Transcend Recovery Community

There is a heroin epidemic underway in America. In the Northeast, in the Midwest, and on the Pacific Coast, heroin addicts are struggling with addiction and attempting to find a sober life.

In the New England area, for example, needles are becoming just as popular as the lighthouses across the Northeast coast. In a small town in Vermont, addicts meet in a local Walmart parking lot to buy a “ticket,” the slang term used for a baggie of heroin worth $20. Sadly, in Vermont, heroin overdoses have doubled in the year 2013. In the same way, newspapers of New York’s Staten Island are filling with obituaries of early deaths – those dying of heroin overdoses and who lost their lives to the drug because of its highly addictive quality.

According to the New York Times, in 2012 alone, 36 people died from heroin overdoses on Staten Island, which is higher than New York’s other four boroughs and the highest number in a decade. The statistics continue to be staggering: from January through April 13, 2014, approximately 1,700 glassine bags of heroin were seized which is 500 more than what was collected in these same four months in 2013. Overall, the amount of heroin seized has jumped to over 300% between 2011 and 2013.

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that creates a fast spiral downward. Mental, emotional, psychological and even physical abilities are impaired. It is a narcotic that can leave a user with red or raw nostrils and needle marks or scars on their arms. Obviously, the drug can lead to overdosing and the loss of life.

Yet, for those who are lucky enough to enter treatment, the rest of their lives may be theirs to keep. Perhaps they will find their way to sober living long term. Perhaps they will turn their lives around. The only way to do this is to make the decision to acquire sober help and get clean. The only way to save their life is to commit to their sobriety.

This begins with medical and psychological treatment of the addiction, including working with a physical doctor to address the physiological effects of withdrawal, a psychologist to address the underlying emotional needs, and lastly with a drug counselor to learn the fundamentals of addiction and how to stay sober. An important part to rehabilitative treatment is addressing an addict’s ambivalence to change. An essential part of treatment is eliciting one’s intrinsic desire to change. Anyone using heroin is going to have strong ambivalence about ending an addiction, especially if they enjoyed their drug use. If using heroin brought relief from emotional pain, a dramatic increase in energy, and a euphoric feeling for life, reasons to continue to use might still be there, despite the growing severity in consequences.

Also, if underlying emotional issues, medical concerns, or any mental illnesses still exist, then the desire to use drugs will almost undoubtedly continue. An addict might say that he or she wants to change, but depression, anxiety, and other fundamental reasons might promote continued use. Thus, there often lies an enormous amount of ambivalence.

The examination and resolution of this ambivalence needs to be the focus of treatment. It’s important to know that ambivalence doesn’t end when treatment ends. In fact, it might increase. Once an individual leaves 24-hour care and they feel the freedom of their discharge, a part of them might yearn for using again. A part of them may want to return to old friends, old ways, and the euphoria of a heroin high.

For this reason, a halfway house is a pivotal place for recovery addicts to get the sober help they need and to continue to face their ambivalence head on. A half way house is a place to for a recovering addict to start reintegrating into society with sobriety in their hearts. In fact, a halfway house is where anyone wishing to find freedom from the heroin epidemic can safely return to his or her life. It’s where a recovering addict can ease their way back home by integrating society with sobriety.

 

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America’s Heroin Epidemic on the Rise

America's Heroin Epidemic on the Rise | Transcend Recovery Community

Living sober in America today can be hard to do. Sobriety isn’t just staying away from alcohol; it’s keeping your distance from any drugs that stimulate the addiction cycle in your brain. And you could argue that sober living includes cleansing yourself of the thought patterns that lead to drinking or drug use in the first place. One of the reasons why it’s hard to stay sober today is because of the news about drug use everywhere. Particularly in recent months, news articles and television programs are highlighting heroin, which is becoming one of the most abused drugs in America. Continue reading “America’s Heroin Epidemic on the Rise”