5 Ways You Can Help Prevent Drug Overdoses
Posted by IFH Staff

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Institute Staff

5 Ways You Can Help Prevent Drug Overdoses

August 31, 2017

Carolyn Burgos (right), the Institute’s naloxone project coordinator, shares info on the drug and a free kit with Abby Stuther, MS, MPH (left), Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at The Boulevard.

Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. Our Director of Substance Abuse Prevention, Thomas McCarry, LMHC wants you to know that “prevention works, treatment is effective and recovery is possible.” Below are five ways he suggests you can help prevent drug overdoses for yourself or someone close to you.
  1. Become informed. We all hear a lot about the opioid epidemic in the news nationally, and it has sadly become all to common to hear local reports of accidental overdose deaths. Knowing more than the headlines helps us to become informed for ourselves, family and community. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has an excellent website with with information and resources. Check that out here.
  2. Dispose of unused medications, safely. It is very import to dispose of expired or unused medications safely. If you are in NYC, click here for some info on how to dispose medications safely and upcoming medication “Take-Back/Drop-Off” events. If you are in Ulster County in upstate New York, here is a map of medication disposal boxes.
  3. Naloxone. Naloxone is a life saving medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Did you know that the Institute has given out almost 300 free overdose prevention kits this year? And that number is growing! Today, in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day, we are offering free naloxone training and giving out free Narcan (Narcan is a brand of naloxone medication) kits at our Family Health Center of Harlem and Sidney Hillman/Phillips Family Practice. Stop by our health centers or talk with your provider any day and we’ll be happy to help get you a kit and teach you how to use it. It’s free and easy. You could be the one who saves a life. Click here for directions on how to use Narcan nasal spray.
  4. Harm Reduction. Even if you or someone you know is actively using substances, there are practical strategies and ideas that can be put in place to lower the risk of accidental overdose. That is called harm reduction. At our health centers, we can help develop a Harm Reduction Safety Plan with you. Some strategies include using less after being drug-free, not using alone, and not using more than one drug at a time.
  5. Treatment is effective and people recover. Medication and counseling can help recovery from substance dependence. Talk with your care team. At the Institute for Family Health, we are here to help and we understand how difficult it is. We care about your wellness and offer services and help with referrals when outside help is needed.