Tips on How to Recognize and Avoiding an Opioid Overdose

Dr. Gregory Branch, MD, MBA, CPE, FACP, Health Officer/Director, Baltimore County, led an intimate, hands-on approach on to how to save a life with Naloxone (NARCAN). Dr. Branch started the “Stayin’ Alive” Session by breaking down exactly what an opioid is, how to prevent an overdose, how to recognize an overdose, and how to respond to an overdose.

Critical Tips for Preventing Opioid Overdoses:

  1. Keep all medicine in a safe place, such as a locked cabinet.
    1. *DO NOT keep prescription drugs in your medicine cabinet*
  2. Properly dispose of expired/unwanted medicine by taking medications to a Drug Drop Box or crush the medicine to mix with kitty litter and then throw away.
    1. *DO NOT flush medicine down the toilet or drain, this contaminates the water supply.
  3. Take only medicine prescribed for you and only as directed.
    1. *DO NOT share your prescription drugs with anyone else.

Dr. Branch included trivia to keep participants engaged and explained that there are many resources for those suffering from addiction (see bottom for details). He detailed the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose including an individual being unresponsive, gurgling, pale/grey skin, and slow/erratic pulse. The first step if you think someone if suffering from an opioid overdose is to try to rouse or stimulate them. If that does not work, call 9-1-1 and administer naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that reverses opioid overdoses by restoring breathing. There is no potential for abuse and no effect on someone who has not taken opioids. Naloxone is safe for children and pregnant women.

Dr. Branch ended the session by teaching participants how to administer rescue breathing in the case that a person is not able to breath on their own. Rescue breathing is the quickest way to get oxygen into the body and one of the most important things you can do to prevent someone from dying of an opioid overdose. Thank you Dr. Branch for teaching #MACoCon attendees how they can do their part to stop the loss of life due to opioid addiction.

Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT): A free program for individuals or families who have a loved one with substance abuse disorder. The program helps the individual or family change their behaviors to encourage their loved one to get treatment. Call (410) 887-6465 for more information.

Drug Drop Box: Call (410) 887-3828 to find one near you to properly dispose of expired/unwanted medicine.

Baltimore County Crisis Response: A 24-hour hotline for mental health crisis, suicidal thoughts, information and referral line. Call (410) 931-2214.

The 2019 MACo Summer Conference – “Winds of Change” on August 14-17 focused on the changes being seen at every level of government and constituent services and how counties are harnessing that momentum for the good of all Marylanders.