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International Overdose Awareness

International Overdose Awareness

Addiction Alternatives wanted to take an opportunity to remind everyone that August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. This day is internationally recognized as an international opportunity to stand together for those that we have lost, family members as well as their loved ones to remind them that they are not alone and to honor them.

International Overdose Awareness was originally established in Melbourne, Australia in 2001. This global event gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of overdose-related deaths as well as an opportunity to spread the message of addiction as a disease.

On August 31st, we will all stand together to take a moment to honor and remember those we have lost while also reaching out our hands to help prevent more loss in the future of loved ones and their families.

The Goals of International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose awareness day is an opportunity for loved ones, families, friends and the community to publicly mourn the loss of addicts in a safe as well as accepting environment. Last year, more than 500 events spanned across the globe bringing awareness to overdose-related deaths and the disease of addiction. August 31st marks the day to educate the community on the Treasure Coast of the risks of fatal and non-fatal overdoses. The establishment of this day helps to promote a strong message against the stigma with addiction and overdoses.

International Overdose Awareness Day is the communities opportunity to partake in genuine conversation regarding drug use and overdose without the fear of judgment in a safe environment. At each of these events on the Treasure Coast and nationwide, resources and support services will be available for individuals and their families struggling with substance abuse. These resources and services will also be available to provide information to friends and family members of addicts.

August 31st, every year is our opportunity to bring more awareness to the disease of addiction and overdose awareness in order to prevent and decrease the number of drug-related deaths in the future.

How To Show Support on International Overdose Awareness Day

Wearing Purple

If you would like to show support on International Overdose Awareness Day, wearing a purple wristband, lanyard or badges are one way to signify the support of overdose awareness as well as signifying the loss of a loved one. Wearing purple wrist bands, lanyards or badges on August 31st is one of many ways to help reduce the stigma behind drug addiction and overdoses. At Addiction Alternatives we believe that every person deserves a chance to recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. The stigma behind drug abuse often makes recovery difficult and makes the conversation of overdose complicated and confusing for many individuals.

Learn More about Overdose

As the abuse of addictive substances continues to rise, we see now more than ever the widespread fatality from overdose-related deaths. It is important as ever that friends, family members, and each community is aware of the risks associated with drug use, how to get help as well as what to do in the case of an overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day is an opportunity to reduce the stigma of drug use by learning about overdose and drug abuse in order to help addicts find the help they need. Family and friends play a vital role in making resources available to those who are searching for a way out of their drug addiction.

Important Things To Consider For Overdoses

  • A drug overdose is clinically defined as when your body can no longer cope with the amount of drugs in your system.
  • Overdoses are not limited to the specific classification of drugs. Nearly all drugs including alcohol can result in an overdose. However, depending on the drug symptoms may vary.
  • Depressants (including alcohol) and opioids slow down the vital activities in the body including breathing and heart rate—putting users at greater risk for overdose.
  • Stimulants increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, seizure or drug-induced psychotic episodes—potentially resulting in overdose and death.
  • Medications should be locked up and kept out of reach of children. Even if the bottle says it is childproof, children can be clever and often more capable than we think.
  • Call an ambulance if you think someone is at risk for overdose. Many states including Florida have implemented Good Samaritan laws that protect those who call the authorities to help in an overdose situation (even if the person calling has been using as well).
  • Signs include, but are not limited to:
  • Seizures
  • Severe headache
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulties (snoring, gurgling)
  • Paranoid, agitated or confused
  • Non-responsiveness, especially to stimulation such as shaking, shouting, or a rub to the sternum with the knuckles
  • In many cases, an opioid overdose may be reversed

Educate Yourself on Naloxone

“According to the CDC there were 63,632 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, 42,249 of these deaths (66%) involved some type of opioid, including heroin.” – Center for Disease Control.

Naloxone or better known as Narcan continues to grow as a proactive method for reversing the effects of overdoses. Narcan continues to reduce the number of drug-related deaths each year.

Narcan is a medication that can be given as an injection as well as a nasal spray that serves an antidote to opioid overdoses. Narcan works by reversing the effects of respiratory depression which is the leading cause of opioid-related deaths.

From 1996 through June 2014, surveyed organizations provided naloxone kits to 152,283 laypersons and received reports of 26,463 overdose reversals. Providing opioid overdose training and naloxone kits to laypersons who might witness an opioid overdose can help reduce opioid overdose mortality.” – Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Attend an Activity

There are many different activities available on International Overdose Awareness Day. Addiction Alternatives suggests attending an event near you on the Treasure Coast. Events range from Black Balloon release ceremonies to presentations from doctors in order to help provide the communities with more ways to learn about overdose-related deaths.

If you, or someone you know if struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and are not currently interested in attending a 12-step program or unable to attend a residential inpatient program, Addiction Alternatives offers outpatient programs to help ensure all addicts have an opportunity to recover. Our IOP program offers the same services as inpatient programs except our clients can continue on with their daily lives in an outpatient setting. This will allow those in need of flexibility an opportunity to recover.


Is Your Spouse Suffering from Addiction?

Is Your Spouse Suffering from Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic mental and medical illness that affects the brain and continues to adversely affect millions of Americans. Substance abuse and addiction not only cause physical harm but also affect the individual’s emotions while often causing behavioral issues. Individuals suffering from addiction cannot control their impulses. Untreated addiction can lead to life-threating consequences.  If you know or suspect that a loved one is facing addiction, it is important to first identify symptoms and consider consulting Addiction Alternatives where a mental health professional can advise you on how to proceed. Remember that addiction is neither your fault nor the fault of your loved one.

Physical Signs of Addiction

Often times, physical symptoms can lead to an initial assumption of an individual suffering from addiction. Substance abuse can lead to as well as aggravate different types of symptoms. When trying to assess whether your spouse or loved one is struggling with addiction, one of the first steps is to look for clear physical signs. If you think that your loved one may be struggling with addiction, the general physical symptoms of addiction to look for are described below.

  • Repetitive speech patterns, red eyes, and dilated pupils. Repetitive or irregular speech patterns are the result of changes in areas of the brain that control that function. Red and dilated pupils are a direct response to the use of substances. These are indicators that can be detected right away.
  • Over-active or underactive. Watching for extreme signs of changes in energy level are also a tell-tale sign of substance abuse. Keep an eye out of random burst of energy or extreme fatigue in your loved one.
  • Weight loss and change in eating habits. Extreme signs of weight loss can also be a sign of substance abuse or addiction. Look for their clothing to fit looser or just not fitting their frame the same way it once did. Often times, they may look pale or undernourished. You may notice your loved one eating more frequently or they may even abstain from food.
  • Body odor and/or other unusual odors. Personal hygiene often tends to fall by the wayside for someone suffering from addiction. This is due to the individuals growing inability to cope with stress and lack of energy levels. The impulsive nature of addiction causes individuals to disregard their once healthy habits of daily living.

Do not solely rely on physical symptoms to determine if your loved one has a problem. It is important to also look for signs of emotional or behavioral signs as they are all linked together. It is never too soon to voice your concerns to your loved one if you suspect they may be suffering from an addiction.

Emotional Signs of Addiction

Emotional or behavioral issues may be harder to determine as addiction produces a number of negative emotions making relationships with family and friends difficult and frustrating. Detailed below are common emotional symptoms of addiction to watch out for.

  • Denial. A person suffering from addiction can fall into two categories of denial. They can either admit the use of substances but minimize the severity. Or they can completely change the topic to avoid the conversation altogether. An individual suffering from addiction may or may not realize the negative effects of their disease but regardless are unable to stop due to a loss of control.
  • Decreased ability to handle stress. Often times, addiction and substance abuse can lead to a loss in of interest in their own lives, the lives of others and even activities they frequently loved or took part in.
  • Increased irritability. Unfortunately, your loved one is likely to become more defensive and argumentative. This behavior often leads to rationalizing and blaming others for their behavior. This includes finding excuses and other explanations for their using behavior, as well as placing the blame on another person or situation for their behavior.

Behavioral Signs of Addiction

Behavioral changes often accompany the physical and emotional changes in a person who is suffering addiction. Behavioral symptoms begin to develop as changes in the brain begin to occur. It is important to remember that your loved one is not a bad person and they are unable to control their decisions and behavior at this point.

The impulsive and compulsive behavior present in the beginning will often lead to more risky behavior. This is due to the fact the addiction actually hijacks your spouse’s control and judgment. Behaviors can range from engaging in criminal behavior, stealing, financial difficulties, as well as driving under the influence. Relationships are often strained between the addict and their families and friends. These relationships are strained through lying, manipulating and other negative behaviors. It may be difficult for your spouse to experience joy and happiness in the same things they used to.

What Can I Do to Help?

Many loved ones have asked us at Addiction Alternatives, “what can I do to help my husband/wife”? Our advice is to make sure you are having open and honest, judgment-free conversations. If they feel attacked they are less likely to be willing to hear your concerns. While it may be difficult to remain calm during this time, it is important to not take out your anger on your spouse. At this point, it is important to remember not to enable their behaviors. This includes lending money to them or lying for them. When the conversation turns to their addiction, finish off with a suggestion to seek professional help.

When To Seek Professional Help

If your loved one is struggling from addiction, they need to seek treatment with the help of health professionals as soon as possible. Anyone can achieve sobriety regardless of how long they have been struggling with this mental disease. Addiction is treatable with the appropriate treatment protocol, which consists of combinations of behavioral therapy, prescribed medications, evaluation and treatment for other underlying conditions, and follow-ups. Tailoring treatment programs to address the distinct needs of each patient, Addiction Alternatives is dedicated to guiding and assisting their patients on their way to recovery. Now is the time to get help, so call today!