Unintentional overdose leads to unintentional consequences.
We hear it more often than we would like. However, it does not negate the role we play in addressing the issue and helping those in our community that struggle. Everyone has a struggle or an unknown weight they carry around. It is healthy to talk about those challenges with those close to you.
Unfortunately, many carry that burden alone often turning to self-medication with alcohol or drugs as the solution. The very real and unintentional outcome is permanent injury or loss of life. The ripple effect is of hurt, lack of understanding, or, for family and friends, the awareness that something was going on they never knew about.
We are talking about addiction and substance abuse. While there are several forms, the use is often a silent cry for help. Alcohol, depressants, opioids, stimulants and crystal methamphetamine – each is addictive and the long-term impacts on individuals' physical and mental wellbeing can have dire consequences.
At Partnership Carson City, it is part of our daily work. We are focused on reaching those with addiction issues letting them know that they are valued. We also help families in coping with their grief.
Each year, millions of lives are affected by substance abuse and addiction in the United States. In 2020, the U.S. witnessed an increase in drug use and overdose, and the state of Nevada was hit especially hard. According to the Nevada State Unintentional Drug Overdose Report compiled by the Nevada OD2A (Overdose Data to Action) program for January to June 2020, there was a 37% increase in drug overdose death of the unintentional or undetermined intent over the prior year. It goes without saying, 2020 and the pandemic created hardships for many. The report also brings to attention the statistically significant increase in deaths from ages 18-24 (181% increase) and among Hispanics (221% increase).
In 2020, the National Drug Helpline placed Nevada on “red alert” for risk of death from overdose along with 27 other states. From the first to the second quarter of 2020, Nevada also witnessed a 50% increase in opioid and fentanyl-involved drug overdose deaths, with 98 deaths from January through March and 147 from April through June (source Nevada Department of Health and Human Services).
As an organization that is dedicated to education and prevention, we offer several tangible and virtual resources at no cost to aid in prevention including:
NARCAN® (naloxone) kits for opioid overdoses along with training courses offered throughout the year.
Lockboxes for prescription medications.
Sealed bags for cannabis medicinal and commercial use.
Deterra drug system bags to aid in proper disposal.
Responsible Beverage Server training courses for those that sell or serve alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana products offered throughout the year.
Pain management-focused yoga offered each Monday night.
Numerous virtual resources and on-demand education as well as books and resources on drug education and mental health.
Our philosophy is that it is always better to prevent problems than to treat them later and that is why we continue to offer these tangible drug resources in the form of kits and disposal tools combined with education to address the larger problem.
Annually we work to raise awareness as a community on International Overdose Awareness Day, scheduled this year for Tuesday, Aug. 31. It is the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, which is one of the world’s worst public health crises; remember those that have died without judgment, acknowledge the grief of those left behind and stimulation action and discussion that drug overdose is preventable (#EndOverdose).
International Overdose Awareness Day was initiated in 2001 by Sally J Finn at The Salvation Army in St Kilda, Melbourne. Since 2001, many community members, as well as government and non-government organizations worldwide, have held events to raise awareness and commemorate those who have been lost to drug overdose. On August 31, Partnership Carson City will again host a remembrance and acknowledgment for those that have died with a strong message that you are valued and missed and to provide a platform for grieving.
To learn more about any of our programs, visit our website at PCCCarson.org. Following our socials including Facebook and Instagram for resources and encouragement. Our offices are located at 1925 N. Carson St. in the Frontier Plaza.