To save many lives from drug overdose, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently launched four complementary education campaigns designed to reach young adults ages 18-34. . The campaigns provide information about the prevalence and dangers of fentanyl, the risks and consequences of mixing the drugs, the life -saving power of naloxone, and the importance of reducing the stigma of drug use to support treatment and healing.
The CDC speaks directly with youth who report using drugs, as well as peer recovery professionals, to improve campaigns. Each campaign includes new resources on all four topics to help people make informed decisions, get the help they need, and ultimately reduce the rise in drug overdose and overdose deaths.
“This critical information can help all of us save a life from an overdose and support people who use drugs in treatment and recovery,” said Debra Houry, MD, MPH, acting principal deputy director at the CDC.
Illegal drugs are more potent and potentially deadly than ever before because many can be mixed or mixed with illicit fentanyl production without a person’s knowledge. Fentanyl, a more potent synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, and other synthetic opioids contribute to the majority of opioid -related overdose deaths. Prohibited manufactured fentanyl is more common in counterfeit prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other illicit drugs. It is almost impossible to tell if the drugs are mixed with fentanyl without being used fentanyl test strips because it cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted.
People who use drugs can use many different substances, and this mixture of drugs can be even more harmful than if they were used separately. Mixing stimulants — such as ecstasy and cocaine — can increase the risk of stroke and heart attack, while mixing opioids with other depressants — such as benzodiazepines (“benzos”) and/or alcohol — can slow breathing, which can lead to severe brain damage or death. Bottom line, there is no safe way to mix drugs. Even if you have mixed medications before, your body may react differently each time.
Naloxone is a life -saving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. Usually given as a nasal spray, naloxone can restore normal breathing in a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped due to opioids, including fentanyl, if given on time. Anyone can take naloxone, give it to someone who has experienced an overdose, and possibly save a life.
Naloxone is available in all 50 states and Washington, DC, and it is available at many local over -the -counter pharmacies in most states. The laws of the good Samaritan already exist most statesexternal icon to protect those who overdose and anyone who helps them in an emergency from arrest, charges, or a combination thereof.
One in 14 Americans report experiencing a substance use disorder. However, the stigma associated with drug use can be a significant barrier to getting help. Showing compassion to people who use drugs and offering support during their treatment and healing journey are ways to help reduce stigma. Recovery pathways include treatment with medications for opioid use pain, as well as behavioral therapies. Treatment is available in many settings — in person, online, through telehealth visits, —treatment can be in individual or group formats.
“Addiction is a treatable disease,” said Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, DrPH, MPH, acting director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “And while recovery isn’t always a straight path, it is possible. Talking to a health care provider to create a treatment plan that works best for that individual and connecting other services and supports can help with recovery. ”
A Critical Step for Prevention
Drug overdoses have claimed nearly 900,000 lives in the United States. in the last 20 years. NEW reports It has been shown that drug overdose deaths accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, exceeding overdose death rates from any previous year. Prohibited production of fentanyl is the main driver of the nearly 30% increase in overdose deaths. By sharing campaigns and related resources with young people 18-34 who use drugs, we are taking an important step to stop drug overdose and save lives.
To learn more about the CDC’s drug overdose prevention efforts, visit www.cdc.gov/stopoverdose.