Preventing Opioid Drug Overdose
Virginia is currently under a Public Health Emergency because of the rising number of opioid overdoses. More Virginians are killed each year from opioid overdose than car crashes. Sometimes these overdoses are from overuse of prescription pain medications.
What are opioid drugs?
Opioids are strong narcotic medications, such as morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl or methadone. These are prescription medications often used for controlling pain and can be habit forming. Also, if too much is taken, an overdose can be fatal. Heroin is a street drug that is also in the opioid group. Heroin is extremely addictive and dangerous.
When we think of drug overdoses, we usually think of those street drugs like heroin. Many times overdose happens accidentally with prescription drugs.
- People who are taking opioid medications over a long period of time can build up a tolerance. This means it can take a higher dose to get pain relief. As you take higher doses, you are at a higher risk of overdose.
- People with a past history of drug addiction are also at a higher risk.
- Lastly, people who take an opioid pain medicine in combination with certain other medications are at an even higher risk. For example Valium, Xanax, and Ativan can also be sedating and slow down breathing. This makes for a dangerous combination.
- In an effort to reduce the likelihood of ppioid overdose, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has developed guidelines for how opioids should be used for chronic pain.
- One way to reduce the likelihood of an overdose from opioids is to remove any old medications from your medicine cabinet. Bremo Pharmacy has a medication disposal program to help you safely get these medications out of your home.
If someone accidentally overdoses, there is a medication that can be given to reverse the opioid effects and save their life.
- Naloxone is a prescription medication that has been around for many years, and is often used in emergency situations when a patient is experiencing an overdose from opioids or heroin.
- Naloxone can easily be given at home by either an injection or a nose spray. Similar to how we use an Epipen for allergic reactions, naloxone is an emergency medication for opioid overdose.
- If you are worried about a loved one who has to take chronic opioid pain medications, or if you know someone who is addicted to opioids and are worried about overdose, then having naloxone on hand could be a life saver.
- After use, medical care is still needed because the naloxone is very temporary. The life-saving effects of naloxone can wear off quickly, which means that 9-1-1 should be called as soon as the drug is given.
- The state of Virginia is working hard to reduce the number of deaths from opioid overdoses. As part of this effort they have developed an educational program called REVIVE!. The REVIVE! program strives to increase awareness of the opioid epidemic as well as the role of naloxone in emergency situations.
In Virginia, you can now get Naloxone without a prescription.
- Virginia pharmacies now have a standing order that allows anyone who is worried about potential overdose from either prescription opioids or heroin to get naloxone without a prescription.
- Bremo Pharmacies is participating in this statewide program. We have naloxone in stock, and are ready to help.
- Our pharmacists will teach you:
- Most insurances to cover one or both of these preventive medications.
Do you or a loved one need naloxone? Interested in learning more? Call Bremo Pharmacy at 804-288-8361 and speak to a pharmacist today about how you can get naloxone. Our pharmacists are ready to help!