One Death is Too Many
Every resident lost to the opioid crisis is a preventable tragedy. In 2016, Ontario County experienced 17 opioid overdose deaths. The number of opioid related deaths jumped to 30 in 2017. As of June 2018, Ontario County had 13 confirmed opioid deaths and several more fatalities pending toxicology. The average age for an opioid related fatality for 2016 until June of 2018 was 37 years old. Each life cut short leaves loving family members and friends left to grieve.
Opioids, used to relieve pain are made of opium poppies. They work by lowering the number of pain signals your body sends to your brain. They also change how your brain responds to pain. Opioids may include codeine, fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone or tramadol. Overtime, opioids can change the chemicals in your brain making you develop a powerful urge to use the drug. In an opioid overdose, high levels of opioids mask the need to breathe. The drug Narcan (Naloxone) is used to reverse an overdose.
Drug dependence develops when the neurons in your brain adapt to repeated drug exposure and only functions normally in the presence of the opioid. When the drug is withdrawn, symptoms such as sweating, nausea or vomiting, chills, diarrhea, shaking, pain, depression, insomnia and fatigue occur. The term often used to describe withdrawal symptoms is “dope sick” which is described as the worst flu you have ever had, multiplied by 10.
As a community, let us celebrate our opioid addiction success stories. Many of our residents have made a commit to quitting; they have received help from doctors, counselors and drug treatment centers and they received recovery support. Seek help if you are struggling with addiction. Local drug addiction resources include FLACRA, the Addictions Crisis Center, and the Center of Treatment Innovation (COTI) Mobile Crisis Unit. For more information and immediate assistance contact: FLACRA 833-4-FLACRA (833-435-2272), Clifton Springs Chemical Dependency Services: Outpatient Services: 315-462-1060 & Inpatient Services: 315-462-3000 or The Council on Alcoholism and Addiction of the Finger Lakes at 315-789-0310.
Preventing addiction prevents opioid deaths. Everyone has a part in preventing addiction. As a community member, reach out to a faith-based community, connect to your neighbors, volunteer, encourage and support drug prevention programs or join the programs available through the Partnership for Ontario County.
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