Drug Overdose Epidemic

Drug overdose deaths in the United States area continue to be a public health problem. Every day, 2,500 youth (ages 12-17) abuse a pain prescription pain reliever for the first time. Over a span of 16 years (1999-2015) the death rate of teenagers overdosing more than doubled, and in 2015 alone there were 772 drug overdose deaths for adolescents ages 15-19.

Why do teens abuse prescriptions drugs? There could be many reasons including: help them focus on school work, stop physical and mental pain, be rebellious, peer pressure, and as a way to boost self-confidence.

It’s important to recognize signs of an overdose and identify your role in preventing an overdose in someone you care about.

Symptoms of an overdose:

  • Face is extremely pale and/or clammy to the touch
  • The body is limp
  • Fingernails or lips have a blue or purple cast
  • The person is vomiting or making gurgling noises
  • Individual cannot be awakened from sleep or is unable to speak
  • Breathing and heart rate are significantly reduced or stopped
  • Pinpoint pupils

What is your role in preventing drug overdoses?

  • Increase your awareness of overdose signs and risks.
  • Let your friends know that it isn’t okay to take medicine that isn’t prescribed to them.
  • Share the opioid crisis line with friends who may be struggling.

If you or someone you know is abusing prescription drugs do not hesitate to get the help you need:

Illinois Helpline for Opioid and Other Substances: 1-833-2FINDHELP

 

Resources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prevention/help.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/teen-drug-overdoses-doubled-1999-2015-cdc-reveals-n793006

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