Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s most extensive annual campaign to end overdoses, remember those who have died and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends left behind.
According to the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime, North America continues to experience the highest drug-related mortality rate in the world, accounting for one in four drug-related deaths globally.
In April 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the number of people in the U.S. who had died from an overdose in the 12-month period ending on January 2021 was 94,134.
Overdose Deaths on the Rise During COVID-19 Pandemic
According to #EndOverdoseCO, In 2020, there were 1,512 overdoses in Colorado - the highest number ever recorded. This is a 38% greater number of fatal overdoses than in 2019. Since 2000, almost 16,000 Coloradans have lost their lives, leaving behind children, partners and loved ones.
How to Recognize an Overdose
Recognizing an opioid overdose can be difficult. If you aren’t sure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose—you could save a life. Call 911 or seek medical care for the individual. Do not leave the person alone. Signs of an overdose may include:
- Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue or cold skin
- What to ask your doctor before taking opioids - Learn what questions to ask your provider if you are prescribed opioids.
- Colorado Household Medication Take-Back Program - Find a location to drop off unused and expired medications.
- CDC Opioid Overdose Tip Card – Opioid overdose basics
- Talk to your doctor about managing your pain – You can help prevent prescription opioid misuse by first starting a conversation with your doctor.
If you or someone close to you is having a mental health emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital-based emergency room. If you or someone you know is having a mental health or substance use crisis, call Colorado Crisis Services any time 24/7. They have a team of professionals who provide free, confidential and immediate support. Call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.
CCHA is also here to help!
CCHA care coordinators can help you connect with a provider and other resources for your mental health and substance use needs. Talk with a care coordinator today.
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Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm