International Overdose Awareness Day: Know the Signs Of Heroin Overdose

In recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) a  global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers provides you with potentially life-saving information regarding heroin overdose:

Know the Signs of a Heroin Overdose

  • Decreased level of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Heart rate and breathing slow down or stops
  • Lips and nails turn blue due to insufficient oxygen in the blood
  • Seizures, muscle spasms and vomiting (vomiting can cause death due to choking hazard)
  • Unable to awaken even if name is called or if shaken vigorously

Naloxone

heroin overdose-overdose-awareness-dayLegislation passed in 2009 made Illinois one of 16 states that allow distribution of naloxone with out a doctor prescribing every dose. Naloxone is an opiate antagonist that reverses the effect of overdose from opiates like heroin. The law’s implementation ended what had been a legal conundrum of how to distribute a drug to someone to give to someone else, or to a user who might not need to take a dose for months.

It is very important to give help to an overdosing person right away. Brain damage can occur within only a few minutes of an overdose as the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain. It can lead to coma and even death due to respiratory failure. Naloxone gives concerned loved ones and care givers a window of opportunity to save a life until emergency medical help arrives. 

“The increase in heroin overdose deaths is troubling. That is why we do everything we can to ensure the health, comfort and safety of the teens and adults we treat for opiate dependency,” says Sally Thoren, Executive Director, Gateway Chicago West. “Before the law was enacted, in the event of a heroin overdose treatment centers would have to call 911 and lose precious minutes waiting for the help to arrive.”

The Good Samaritan Overdose Law

Many residents may not be aware but Illinois is one of 14 states that have passed the Emergency Medical Services Access Act/The Good Samaritan Overdose Law (Illinois Public Act 097-0678), which went into effect on June 1, 2012. To help reverse the trend of deaths attributed to heroin overdoses and other opiate overdoses, The Good Samaritan Law is meant to encourage bystanders witnessing a drug overdose to seek medical help for the victim. The bystander who calls 911 or seeks medical help will receive immunity from criminal charges for drug possession (except for marijuana). The overdose victim is protected, too. Before the law, too many victims were dropped off alone and unconscious outside the doors of hospitals or even abandoned by friends to die for fear of criminal prosecution.

Learn more about heroin addiction treatment at RecoverGateway.org/Heroin or call our 24-Hour Helpline at 877-505-HOPE (4673)

Support your Recovery with a Healthy Lifestyle – Get Moving!

exercise benefits, substance abuse recoveryExercise can be a valuable part of the recovery process, and you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to see the benefits. Have you ever heard the expression, “little things mean a lot”? It applies to exercise too! There are many little ways you can work exercise into your day. These tips illustrate that you don’t need to join a fitness club in order to get some exercise. Following these simple suggestions can all add up to a healthier you!

Walk

One of the easiest ways to increase your activity level is to walk. Walking isn’t limited to going for a walk; you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from the door, walk around your building during work breaks, or walk the dog.

Stand

You’ll do yourself well by standing up while talking on the phone or sitting up in a chair instead of lying on the couch to watch television. Need to talk to a co-worker? Consider skipping using email or the phone – and walk over to their desk or office!

Household Tasks

Doing your own housework is a great way to keep moving, and so is working in the yard. Put on your favorite music and dance or use music as a motivational background when you exercise.

At Gateway Treatment Centers, adults and adolescents can  how to address their substance use disorder and relapse prevention strategies. To learn more about treatment programs and recovery support at Gateway, please visit RecoverGateway.org.

Prescription Drug Abuse is on the Rise

prescription drug abuse, prescription pills, prescription drugs“Abuse of pain medications may start when a person takes them for an injury or medical condition that causes chronic pain. It can get out of control. Over time, people develop a tolerance level to opiates which often prompts them to increase their dosages,” says Cynthia Miles, LCSW, Clinical Supervisor, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers

Prescription drugs are often perceived as safer than illicit drugs but, when abused, pose serious health risks including overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that more people die from prescription opioid overdose than all other drugs combined.

What Can You Do?

It is important to safeguard and keep track of prescription drugs. Following are steps you can immediately take to limit access to your prescription drugs:

  • Safeguard all drugs at home, including over-the-counter medicines. Conceal, monitor quantities and control access.
  • If you have children, set clear rules for teens about all drug use, including not sharing medicine and always following the medical provider’s advice and dosages.
  • Be a good role model by following these same rules with your own medicines.
  • Ask friends and family to safeguard their prescription drugs as well.
  • Properly dispose of old or unused medicines

Read More about Prescription Drug Abuse >

Alternatives to Managing Pain

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment’s H.O.P.E. program is a voluntary program designed to help people find alternatives to taking pain medications and/or narcotics. The program name acronym stands for Healthy Options to Treat Pain Effectively. Offered at the Gateway Treatment Center in Carbondale, Illinois, the H.O.P.E. program educates attendees on ways to take a more holistic approach to their health.

Provided in a group format, the program’s goals include helping people gain an understanding of their pain, and how to identify the ways in which it goes further than the physical sensations to include emotional pain and cognitive disorders. Once people can identify this, they can use this knowledge to begin to alter their thinking.

Participants learn how to use techniques designed to improve their emotional pain, which should in turn help to decrease the perception of physical pain. Daily grounding and coping skills are practiced, which are ideally, performed even when a person’s pain level is not high. By being consistent, a life change that is conducive to self-awareness and pain management is reinforced.

If you know someone who may be abusing presription drugs, don’t wait. Call Gateway at 877-971-4673.

Learn more about Substance Abuse Treatment Programs at Gateway Treatment Centers >

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