Earlier this month there was news that over 90 people overdosed on synthetic marijuana laced with the powerful opioid fentanyl at a park in New Haven, Conn. Thankfully, no one died of an overdose that day due to the quick response from emergency personnel. Such stories remind us that people across the country are struggling with addiction to illicit substances and opioid-based pain medications.
Main page content
A Note from Robert Lubran, MS, MPA, Director, Division of Pharmacologic Therapies, Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, SAMHSAUnfortunately, the blog below, written last year by SAMHSA’s former Chief Medical Officer, remains timely. Another rash of fentanyl-related overdoses have occurred; this time in the Chicago area. In the past several days there have been more than 82 opioid overdoses and seven deaths linked to the use of heroin contaminated with fentanyl. Please read the blog below for more information about this dangerous substance, and the resources SAMHSA has to help prevent opioid overdoses.
Heroin use and deaths related to prescription opioid use are on the rise in the U.S. As a result, overdose treatments like naloxone, which can help revive people in the throes of an opioid overdose, are attracting increased interest. A number of community-based harm reduction organizations are working to prevent overdose deaths through public education and naloxone distribution programs. SAMHSA has also released an overdose prevention toolkit, which includes prevention strategies and rescue steps to take when an overdose occurs.
Sunday, August 31st is Overdose Awareness Day. In recognition of this day we would like to turn our attention to the faces behind the overdose statistics.You have no doubt heard that in 2011 more Americans died every day from drug overdoses than from traffic crashes. And that half of those overdoses involved opioids, a class of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers.
We would like to take a moment to talk about the people behind these data.
We greatly appreciate the willingness of parents to share their stories of loss with us. It goes without saying that family and friends who have lost a loved one due to overdose are heartbroken. And they are desperate to make sure no one else experiences what they have.