The Opioid Epidemic kills more than 130 people every day in America. Addiction can—and does—happen in the best of families. For many adults, opioid addiction begins with something as harmless as a pulled muscle. For many teens, it begins with a medicine bottle found in a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet.
So how do we stop it?
The first step is to know what you’re up against. Prescription drugs may seem safe because they prescribed by a doctor but they’re addictive just like heroin. In fact, 8 out of 10 people who use heroin first abused pain medicine, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Once you know your enemy, it’s time to take action. Together, we can tackle this epidemic in Lorain County. We can prevent a new generation of youth from ending up with a substance abuse disorder. Most importantly, we can help those already suffering to get better and find a new path.
That may seem like a huge challenge, but we work together and make change happen. Here’s how:
- Get informed. Ask your doctor about the risks of opioid addiction before taking prescription pain medicine. Ask if there are any alternatives you should consider.
- Take medication exactly as prescribed. Don’t stretch out time between doses so that you can take more at once, don’t crush them, and don’t try to get more medicine than your doctor thinks is necessary.
- Don’t share. Sharing painkillers with family or friends puts them at risk. Prescription opioids are dangerous drugs that must be taken under a doctor’s supervision.
- Protect your loved ones. The same medicine that helps you could harm others if not stored securely. Pain medicine should be stored in a locking medicine safe. NOT on a kitchen counter or in a medicine cabinet.
- Dispose of pain medicine quickly. Once you’re done with a medication, it should not be kept. Dispose of old and unused prescription medicine in a medicine disposal pouch.
- Dispose of pain medicine safely. Visit this page or ask your pharmacist, doctor, or even your local police department for locations in your community.
- Think you may have a problem? Places such as The LCADA Way or Firelands Regional Counseling and Recovery Services can help.
Secure your prescriptions. Many teens start using pain medicine after finding them at home—or at a friend’s house. Keep pain medicine in a locking medicine safe or secure location.
- Talk to your children about the dangers of opioid misuse. Tell them that pain medicine are opioids, just like heroin, and can be equally addictive.
- Dispose of medications quickly and safely. Use a free medicine disposal bag. Request one here (cut to above request). Or visit NOT CORRECT LINK or ask your pharmacist, doctor, or even your local police department for locations in your community.
- Look for signs of drug misuse. They include changes in behavior, mood changes,
- Look for signs of drug abuse, including changes in behavior or mood, drowsiness and detachment, a loss of interest in old friends or activities and finding drug paraphernalia.
- Know your risks. Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids misuse them, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. About 1 out of 10 people who misuse pain medicine will develop an addiction.
- Take medicine exactly as prescribed. Don’t stretch out your time between doses so that you can take more at once, don’t crush them and don’t “doctor shop” to find a physician who will prescribe more prescription drugs than are medically necessary.
- Know the warning signs. If you find yourself taking pain medicine for no valid medical reason, you’re at risk of addiction. Stop immediately and, if you can’t, seek help.
- Keep your medication out of sight or in a locking medicine safe. This isn’t a question of trust; it’s a question of safety.
- Dispose of medications quickly and safely. Use a free medicine disposal bag. Request one here (cut to above request). Or visit this page or ask your pharmacist, doctor, or even your local police department for locations in your community.
- Think you may have a problem? Places such as The LCADA Wayor Firelands Regional Counseling and Recovery Services can help.
- Educate yourself. Addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. Your loved one needs help to get better.
- Don’t use guilt or shame. They don’t work.
- Encourage your loved one to get help. Have resources ready and show them that there is a way to break the chains of addiction and have a good life.
- Don’t enable. Don’t protect your loved one from the consequences of their actions. Don’t give them money for drugs. Don’t make excuses for them.
- Be ready in the event of an overdose. Narcan can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It works on heroin, as well as prescription pain medicine. Ask your pharmacist for more info.
- Seek support. Let’s Get Real is a support group for family and friends of addicts.
- Practice self-care by doing things you enjoy and prioritizing your own health.
- Have hope. Addiction isn’t a death sentence. It is a disease that can be managed.
Request a Free Medicine Disposal Safe or Free Medicine Disposal Pouch