Friday, May 29, 2015

Franklin Police share resources on preventing overdoses

During the Town Council meeting last week, Chief Stephan Semerjian mentioned that the Police Department was posting resources on their webpage to help share the information. 

Here is the info shared:

14 Rules Never to Break with Dealing with Addiction

signs of heroin abuse - shared from the Franklin Police page
signs of heroin abuse - shared from the Franklin Police page


The term opioid designates a class of drugs derived naturally from the opium poppy (opium, morphine, codeine), synthesized or derived from a natural opiate (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone), or manufactured synthetically with a chemical structure similar to opium (fentanyl, methadone). Among their many effects, opioids depress breathing by changing neurochemical activity in the brainstem where automatic bodily functions are controlled. 


An overdose occurs when opioid concentrations are so high in the body that they begin to cause respiratory depression. Overdoses can be further characterized as being either non-fatal (loss of consciousness and depressed breathing) or fatal (respiration ceases and/or cardiac arrest ensues) (Warner-Smith, et al, 2001). 
Overdose is a common experience among opioid users. In a review of the literature on overdoses, Darke and Hall (2003) found that at least half of opioid users in cross-sectional studies report a history of non-fatal overdose, many of whom report overdosing multiple times. Additionally, Darke and Zador (1996) report that opioid users have mortality rates that are between six and twenty times those of their peers. These authors go on to report that deaths attributable to overdose are the most common cause of death among opioid users. 
In a report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in December 2011, drug overdose was identified as the cause of death for over 41,000 people in 2008 (Warner, et al, 2011). With the rate nearly tripling in the past three decades, drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death nationally, exceeding motor vehicle accidents; in 2008, there were 38,000 motor vehicle deaths. 
While the CDC report identifies overdose as a national issue, the northeast region is disproportionately affected. In its 2011 New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (NE HIDTA) Drug Market Analysis, the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) noted, “opioid abuse remains the most significant drug threat to the NE HIDTA – (NDIC, 2011). The authors identify pharmaceutical opioid abuse as the driving factor behind this increase. Evidence suggests that pharmaceutical opioid abusers often switch from prescription medications to heroin due to its lower cost and greater purity.

Continue reading more from the Mass Dept of Health brochure (PDF) here

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