Grand Futures: International Overdose Awareness Month
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Editor’s note: The article previously stated that, “in Moffat County from 2014 to 2019, doctors wrote 888.9 opioid prescriptions per 1,000 residents. Comparatively, in Routt County, there were 470.6 prescriptions written per 1,000 residents.” This was an incorrect interpretation of the data provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
In 2018, Colorado lost 564 lives to drug overdose. Compared to the national loss of 67,367 lives that year, Colorado’s numbers seem insignificant, and it paints a picture of a state relatively unencumbered by the opioid crisis. However, overdose and addiction affect more than those who experience it directly. It impacts friends, family members, coworkers and even staff working in the fields of intervention and treatment.
In Moffat County, from 2014 to 2019, doctors wrote opioid prescriptions for 88.9% of residents in the county, which is an astronomical number. Comparatively in Routt County, prescriptions were written for 47.1% of residents in the same time frame.
The death rate of a drug is not the only number we should be worried about as a state. With increased numbers of prescriptions written comes an increased risk for abuse and overdose when it could have been prevented.
It is important to be prepared in case of an opioid overdose, especially if you or someone you know has a prescription for opioid medication or if there’s a known user in the house. Naloxone HCl, also known as Narcan, is a medication that works to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. While it is a temporary solution, lasting only 30 to 90 minutes, Naloxone will provide enough relief from overdose symptoms to allow medical help to arrive and save a life.
One study found that 93.5% of people given Naloxone after an opioid overdose lived. Luckily, the state of Colorado makes it easy for residents to access Naloxone. A prescription is not needed to order the medication from the pharmacy. It is even covered by most insurances, including Medicaid and Medicare.
There are three FDA approved administration methods for Naloxone: nasal spray, an injection or an auto-injector similar to an EpiPen. Training for how to properly administer the medication can be found online on platforms like Bring Naloxone Home or through local agencies.
On International Overdose Awareness Day, Aug. 31, Grand Futures will be hosting community chalk events in Craig and Steamboat Springs to provide information and resources on overdose, Naloxone and opioid awareness in our community.
Stop by the Routt County Courthouse at 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or the Craig Chamber of Commerce from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to draw a chalk handprint in honor of those who have experienced or lost their lives to opioid overdoses. More information and resources can be found at grandfutures.org.
Written and edited by Rachel Kandierski and Amber DeLay of Grand Futures.
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