International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of substance overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose.
Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury deaths in the United States, at nearly 44,000 per year or five deaths per hour. These deaths have more than doubled in the past 14 years, and half of them are related to prescription drugs (22,000 per year). Overdose deaths now exceed motor vehicle-related deaths in 36 states and Washington, D.C.
Overdose Day spreads the message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable. Wearing silver can signify the loss of someone cherished and sends out a message that the tragedy of overdose death is preventable.
Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!
The theme for 2016 is Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery! Remembering those who have died or been injured because of overdose is an important part of International Overdose Awareness Day. If you would like to commemorate somebody, please add your tribute to The Discovery House Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/TDHRehab.
What is an Overdose?
An overdose means having more of a drug (or combination of drugs) than your body is able to cope with. There are a number of signs and symptoms that show someone has overdosed, and these differ with the type of drug used and how it was ingested into the body.
Understanding Tolerance and Half-life
When a person uses a drug regularly, they develop tolerance to it. This means they need to use more of the substance to get the same effect. Similarly, if a person hasn’t been using regularly or if they’ve not been able to get drugs, their tolerance will drop. When people take their usual amount of drugs after a break from using, it could be too much for the body to handle and lead to an overdose. This is why high-risk situations for drug overdose include post-release from prison, detoxification, and rehabilitation. Someone on naltrexone (Narcan®) can also be at risk if they use soon after stopping oral medication or skipped a dose or when the effects of a naltrexone implant have ceased.
“Half-life” refers to the time it takes for a drug to drop to half the strength of its original dose. For example, some drugs, like some benzodiazepines, have a long half-life. If a person used yesterday, they may still have enough in their system today to overdose if they use more of the drug. Diazepam (Valium®) has a half-life of about 24 hours, so if you took 20mg yesterday, you would still have approximately 10mg of diazepam active in your system today. If you were then to use heroin or morphine, you would have an increased risk of overdose as you would be using those opioids in addition to that 10mg of diazepam.
Taking more than one kind of drug at a time puts a lot of strain on the body and can increase both effect and the risk. For example, most heroin-related overdoses are caused when other depressant drugs are also taken. Alcohol and benzos like alprazolam (Xanax®) and temazepam (Temaze®) are depressants, and mixing them with drugs like heroin, oxycodone (OxyContin®) or morphine (MS Contin®) greatly increases the risk of an overdose.
Getting Help for Overdose and Addiction
If you believe you are overdosing or witness someone who is, please call 911 at once.
An overdose or death will often occur before the addict is motivated to quit using drugs. At The Discovery House, our primary goal is to help addicts get off alcohol or drugs and start a new life of long-term sobriety. Getting and staying clean is what we lead every patient toward, but the first step is detoxification.
“Before a person can begin their journey on the road to recovery, they must cleanse their body of all intoxicating substances at the best drug and alcohol treatment centers, such as The Discovery House,” explains David Dequa, Program Director at the Los Angeles residential and outpatient rehab facility. “Addiction detox is a crucial time and one that must be handled with the utmost care and urgency at a professional drug detox center. The scale of the individual’s dependency and the length of time they have been dependent on drugs or alcohol will determine the length of detox and what additional assistance will be needed while going through this process.” He adds, “The Discovery House is fully equipped to help residents through the sub-acute detox phase of recovery and through residential treatment and outpatient addiction treatment programs.”
What is The Discovery House?
The Discovery House is a fully licensed, Joint Commission-accredited facility located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. We utilize a variety of treatment programs that allow each client to receive the individualized care they deserve. The pet-friendly Southern California rehab center offers a variety of drug and alcohol treatment programs to help drug addicts and alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.
Each client at The Discovery House receives customized care to end their dependence on prescription drugs, heroin and other opiates and/or alcohol in order to live a clean and sober life. To learn more about The Discovery House, visit http://www.TheDiscoveryHouse.com or call (855) 203-7930.
Is there someone you want to remember on International Overdose Awareness Day? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter @TDHRehab #OverdoseAwarenessDay