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January 22 through January 27 marks National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, which is a time for all teenagers to shatter myths about drugs and drug use. This national observance encourages community based events between teenagers and experts to address any questions or concerns they have about drugs and alcohol.
This year, the theme is Shatter the Myths - where science based information on drugs and alcohol are taught to teenagers. Teens will learn about the harmful impact that drugs and alcohol have on the body, thus, they will be able to make well informed decisions before engaging in risky behavior.
Did you know that about a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illegal drug sometime within the past year? More than 10 percent of high school seniors also report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In fact, more than 5 percent of high school seniors have reported to trying heroin, according to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
It's a known fact that drugs can put a teenager's health and life in jeopardy, but many teens are not aware of the risks. Today's pop culture is filled with inaccurate information about drugs and alcohol, often glorifying them instead of warning against them. Without a reliable source of information, teenagers often turn to the internet, television, or peers, and receive completely false information.
This false information about drugs and alcohol can have serious, and life-threatening consequences. For instance, the problem of addiction arises, as well as the alarmingly growing rate of overdoses. Research has shown that in 2014, there were 47,055 drug overdose deaths in the United States - 28,000 of them being directly related to prescription opioids and heroin.
In 2016, the rate jumped exponentially. More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, with half of the population overdosing on illicit drugs and prescription opioids. Experts say that this year, unfortunately the trend is continuing to rise, especially among younger people.
There is no one answer as to how to solve this growing drug problem, but with proper education, awareness, and knowledge, hopefully we as a society can change those statistics. Teenagers need to know that drugs and alcohol present real dangers, and they must know what those dangers are.
This week, let's join the movement and help to 'shatter the myths' about drugs and alcohol.
Mountainside Medical Equipment is proud to carry the life-saving drug called Naloxone, which is an opioid antagonist used to prevent and reverse the effects of opioid use and overdose.
Naloxone, which has been being used by medical professionals for years, is now available to first responders, as well as the general public. The goal is to save more lives, preventing as many overdose deaths as possible. By distributing Naloxone to those that are most likely to be around when an overdose occurs, such as other users, caregivers, and the family members of users, it is more likely that by the time someone notices that the user is having an issue (such as slowed breathing and/or unconsciousness) there will still be enough time to administer the Naloxone before the heart stops. By the time 911 is called and first responders arrive and get the users to the emergency room the overdose may be too far advanced.
Naloxone is designed to reverse and prevent the effects of opioid use, such as:
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- And other prescription pain medications
It should be noted that Naloxone will not prevent overdose deaths in cases involving non-opioid drugs, such as Xanax, Klonopin and Valium, bath salts, cocaine, methamphetamine or alcohol, which again is why it is so important to make sure 911 is called. (Although administering Naloxone to individuals overdosing on non-opioid drugs will not harm them.)
Naloxone has also saved the lives of officers who have come in contact with drugs like fentanyl when patting down suspects, as well as K-9s who are sent into situations to find narcotics. Both humans and dogs can fall victim to overdose by absorption through the skin (and paws of dogs) or if accidentally ingested. Both canine and human can be administered naloxone through a nasal spray and depending on the drug and the amount exposed to, both people and dogs can require multiple doses to reverse the overdose.
Mountainside Medical Equipment is also proud to carry the Naloxone First Responders Kit, which comes preassembled with all of the supplies that emergency responders would need to safely administer Naloxone. Since emergency responders are usually among the first on the scene, equipping them with Naloxone will enable them to provide lifesaving assistance much quicker than if the patient had to wait until getting to a hospital to receive treatment, which might be too late for it to be effective.
You can see all of the Naloxone options and kits that we carry here.