Prevention is the key to saving lives when it comes to the overdose/opioid epidemic that is occurring all over the United States. Philadelphia is known as “ground zero for dope’s lost souls” especially in the Kennsington section of Philadelphia.
Prevention starts at home with parents. Simple things like speaking about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse and monitoring children’s behaviors. Schools offer a number of programs to help prevent adolescents and teens from engaging in risky behaviors. But it’s clear that prevention is just the first in a long line of things that needs to be done to bring down the overdose rates in the world.
According to the CDC, over 47,000 people died from an overdose in the United States in 2014, with 61% involving opioids. Specifically in Philadelphia, deaths relating to drug overdose increased by 700 in 2015 – which was 2x more deaths than homicides.
Philadelphia is experiencing a major opioid epidemic
What can we do to prevent overdoses in those abusing drugs and alcohol?
Prevention, education, and awareness are necessary.
How can we help those who suffer feel like they do not need to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism?
Meeting with mental health professionals who treat illnesses such as bipolar, depression, and anxiety is a start.
How can we help bring awareness to the issue, and help lessen the stigma that is associated with a drug overdose?
Take action, and talk about it openly. It’s important that those who struggle with addiction know that there are treatment options, and that those who have struggled and are in recovery are still valued.
International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31st) is one way to help with the drug and alcohol crisis. It’s important because it encourages conversation; allows communities to encourage those who are in recovery, and helps educate people on the risks of substance abuse. It’s also a day that recognizes the valiant efforts of those who help people struggling with substance abuse. These people help to diminish the stigma associated with overdose deaths.
International Overdose Awareness Day also allows people to mourn for those they’ve lost.
The most important thing to note is that overdose deaths are preventable!