4 Things EVERYONE Needs to Know About Opioids

An inescapable crisis

It’s become increasingly difficult to feel removed from the opioids issue in the United States.

Nationally, the number of deaths by heroin overdose has tripled since 2012 and the number of deaths by synthetic opioids has increased tenfold in the same timeframe. Because heroin and prescription painkillers According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “nearly 80% of Americans using heroin reported misusing prescription opioids first”.

In Huntingdon County the increase in overdoses are similar. In 2014, there were three reported deaths by heroin overdose, and just three years later 10 were reported.

As the prescription rate and subsequent misuse of painkillers increases, it is important to understand the role that each of us individually play in helping to prevent misuse of prescription painkillers.


Tip #1: Understand your own pain management

Prescription painkillers play an important role in helping patients of all kinds manage chronic or post-surgical pain. Prescription painkillers are not, however, the only option. Be ready to ask your doctor about options for managing pain and the risks associated with whichever method you decide to use. Remember that pain management can be integrative (using more than one method) and developing a pain management plan that fits your needs and lifestyle is an important step in avoiding prescription misuse. Keep an ongoing dialog with your doctor to help make modifications to your pain management plan if you feel some aspect is ineffective.


Tip #2: Dispose of painkillers responsibly

In Huntingdon County, you can dispose of your painkillers in dropboxes at the Huntingdon Borough Police Station (530 Washington Street, Huntingdon PA) and some local pharmacies. Responsible disposable will reduce you and your family’s susceptibility to robbery and help to reduce the influx of prescription painkillers available for street-level distribution.

See a list of other local police stations that have prescription opioid take-back programs here.


Tip #3: Understand the addiction process

Whether you or a loved one has been prescribed painkillers or might have exposure to them, it is important to understand the process of addiction and the support available.

Not all drug users are addicted, but any illicit substance use should be addressed. Click here to learn more about substance use disorder and drug addiction.

Tip #4: Learn how to respond to an overdose

A drug overdose is a life-threatening condition that can happen to anyone any time a narcotic is used. Knowing how to help an individual who has overdosed can help save the life of a family, friend, neighbor, or someone else’s loved one.

Opioid overdoses occur when the the influx of opioid receptors slow down or “clog” the neurological signals in the brain. The slow-down of brain activity causes all systems in the body to slow down as well, including breathing and circulatory functions. Hypoxia refers to the decrease in the amount of oxygen reaching the brain, which can result in a coma, permanent brain damage, or death.

Overdoses can claim the life of a victim within three minutes, so it is important to act quickly if you suspect someone has overdosed.

If you notice that someone has shallow, labored, or no breathing and is unresponsive, follow these steps to help save their life:

  • Call 9-1-1. Although you might be able to revive someone suffering from an overdose, they will need additional resources from a medical professional to address other complications from an overdose. Make sure emergency responders are on their way before you begin attempting to revive someone who has overdosed. Do not fear legal consequences for you or the victim if you seek help for an overdose.


  • Begin CPR if you know how. CPR will help deliver oxygen to the brain even if the overdose victim is not able to do it automatically. CPR can help save lives in many situations beyond overdoses, so it is advisable to learn CPR.


  • Administer naloxone. Naloxone temporarily reverses the effects of opioids on the brain and can help revive someone experiencing hypoxia. If you have naloxone (which is available in the brand-name nasal spray Narcan) or can get it from someone within in a few minutes, administer it to the overdose patient. It is recommended that everyone, regardless of personal relation to opioid users, should have this life-saving drug available. You can buy naloxone over-the-counter at most pharmacies.


  • Wait for emergency responders. Naloxone’s effects are not permanent and a victim can experience a second overdose, so it is important that the victim gets to a medical facility to get further treatment.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in The Force for Health® Active Communities

Related Articles

5 Essential Frameworks for Preventing Violent Child Death

The U.S. has a violent child death problem. Developing strategies to prevent violent child deaths death from firearms and traffic crashes is a demanding task that requires consideration of numerous upstream, interrelated, and tangential issues. To help safety advocates develop strategies to prevent violent child death, we compiled five frameworks to help: Understand and explain …
The post 5 Essential Frameworks for Preventing Violent Child Death appeared first on Salud America.

Educators: Help create the Force for Health

Transcription of video: Hi, this is Dr. Robert Gillio. Dr. Robert, the Force for Health. 22 years ago, I was at Ground Zero shortly after nine 11 as part of a team helping set up a clinic called the Ground Zero Clinic. We studied, 1800 police officers and eventually 60,000 people in a World Trade Center registry. We’re looking at health outcomes, but one of the things we learned is that we were not ready then as citizens, and we’re not ready now as citizens or first responders. A third of us, including our first responders, are overweight, outta shape and don’t have baseline health records. They’re not taking care of me so they can take care of all the rest of us, the we. So we created this Force for Health Network. It’s a free tool for anyone that wants to join. And one of the things that make, maybe will make you interested in this as a teacher is I wrote a book about it. I wrote it as a cathartic thing for my teenage kids after nine 11, is why was mom and dad at Ground zero when airplanes were falling out of the sky with that book, we have, we have a series of, of versions of it with lesson plans and worksheets, that are appropriate for middle school or high school kids. And I’m not trying to sell a book. I’m trying to sell a vision, a vision of students and teachers and parents that can be a forceful for themselves, take care of their family, take care of their neighbors, and even in a distant disaster, a community far away in the world. But the book is narrated with multiple chapters, and, pictures and lesson plans. It’s free online. I’ve, I’ve not even been selling the book, in a hard copy. Maybe we will if people want it, but the goal is speaking to teenagers. What did a group of volunteers do at nine 11 from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as they were asked to step up and maybe help with a telemedicine and screening operation, at ground zero. What, and I want to get people thinking we’ve just been through another disaster. Yeah, we’ve been through Katrina, and there’s a book about that in here. Also, in the lessons learned group, basics, lessons learned group, it’s free. Join, and have access to this. I want the learners and the teachers and the instructors to be thinking about what lessons they learned during covid. What lessons have they learned during the political strife we’ve had or the, war in Europe What lessons are we learning potentially about global warming and real news or false news, fake news or fake science, or, changes in attitudes about science. So the point I’m getting at is I’d like you to join me and Have your students learn about these things, and then if they wish, they can work on me. And we, with a whole series of tools for project-based learning and personal improvement, starting more primarily with STEM or vow around the body and how it works with things like our 360 anatomy models, that will have your students being able to do, dissections and other such tools on their handhelds. And by the way, everything they do in this program is part of something we’re calling the reality Health games. We’re creating a new way to compete, get points when you walk, when, so when you move, when you learn, when you do community service, and when you earn, things for other people. Say your local fire department or, or church or temple or mosque or community. So can we create health promoting citizens of the world I think so. Is nine 11 the time to start thinking about it Yes. Is there free tools for anyone in the world to use Yes. please go to the link, provided at the www the force for health.com and join. join as a basic member at no cost. If you wanna advance things further, there’s other things that w that have some minimal cost to it, for people to be much, much more involved. We all need to be health literate. We all need to care about ourselves and be a health literate, health promoting community servant. Isn’t that what it’s all about at nine 11 Isn’t that a good lesson learned Look out for each other. Be vigilant, but be ready to adapt, improvise, and overcome, and prevent the next thing from happening. Thanks for being a force for health. Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Force for Health® Network News

What Are the Risk and Protective Factors for Violent Child Death?

Gun violence and traffic crashes may seem like unpredictable events. But they are not random. They are systematic. Data reveal trends and patterns in gun violence and traffic crashes that can help us identify risk factors and protective factors. This is especially important for addressing violent child deaths. So what does the data show? Join …
The post What Are the Risk and Protective Factors for Violent Child Death? appeared first on Salud America.

Don’t remember 911? Let us help you use it to become a Force for Health

Transcription of video: Many of you that are watching this weren’t even born. When nine 11 happened, my kids were, they were in middle school and grade school when it occurred. Now they’re healthcare and community professionals serving, the companies or organizations they work for, but also their neighborhoods. They have learned a critical lesson in part from my involvement in nine 11. That is, you have to take care of yourself first and then be ready and willing to help care for others. It’s important that you, especially if you’re middle school, high school or college, and you really don’t have a memory of, what, what happened. We were a country that was enjoying a period of exuberance. There was no Berlin Wall. There was no war. There was peace. And we thought we were loved by everyone in the world when suddenly a disaster happened on that day, and we realized that we were isolated in a bubble of not enough information to really make good decisions about our policies in the world and or our defenses at home. I participated in a health clinic at Ground Zero as a volunteer. I participated, with my family in that event and in the aftermath thereof as we tried to figure out how to help, we weren’t smart enough to be first responders, but we were smart enough to help the first responders. We became second responders. We helped the first responders, and then when we were troubled, people helped us. They became third responders, family members that saw how stressed out we all were and helped support all of us. Everyone looked out for their neighbors and supported them. If they had lost a loved one on nine 11 or if their other loved one was being drafted into guilt to join or patriotic fever favor to join, the military and take on, whatever action our president suggested. I invite you to come with me. I wrote a book called Lessons Learned to Ground Zero. It’s free, it’s online, it’s on your phone app at the force for health.com. If you join, your teacher or college instructor will have lesson plans for you. I want you to see it through the eyes of volunteers, not the government, just a, just a, a country doctor, myself and a bunch of volunteers who put together a clinic to take care of those that were in trouble. And I want you to think about what lessons have you learned in the disaster of your lifetime Covid or maybe abuse or maybe a hurricane, a flood, dealing with political or emotional strife, worried about, relatives back in Ukraine or maybe after the earthquake in Morocco. What lessons have you learned What difference can you make to make the world a better place The lesson I learned is Everyone is different, but everyone has to be as healthy as possible and as mentally prepared as possible, as knowledgeable as possible. I call it health literacy so they can take care of themselves and others. I want you to join up and become a health advancing citizen of the world as a free force for health member. I’m looking forward to sharing my lessons learned from Ground Zero and also from Hurricane Katrina. And I’m looking forward to hearing your lessons learned in your lives. Let’s create a community that caress about advancing the health and health literacy of everyone. You’re gonna inherit this world and you are inheritingit very quickly. as my generation moves on, what I’m suggesting is we welcome people to this country, but never forget, that we also need to be prepared to help ourselves and maybe othersin the world so this doesn’t happen. Again. I’m Dr. Rob for the Force for Health. I’ll see you on the other side online.  Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Force for Health Ambassadors, Force for Health® Network News