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Opioid Overdose from heroin and other opioid drugs represents a health threat to our entire community. Deaths from unintentional drug overdose have exploded to crisis levels in just a short time.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Resources are available to prevent addiction and to prevent opioid overdose—even while an overdose episode is happening.

With education, support, alternative pain treatments, and overdose-reversal solutions like naloxone, drug addiction and tragic deaths in our families and our communities can be stopped.
How Does Opioid Abuse Start?
Opioid abuse can start in many ways.

It can start with back pain. To ease the pain, a prescription drug is provided. The pain lessens but the brain becomes addicted. If the prescription drug no longer becomes available, a person may turn to other opioids—like heroin.

Or it can start by someone taking a family member's prescription pain pills just to experiment. Before long, they can't stop sneaking pills.

Or it could start with desperate search for a solution to depression. Heroin is tried just once, and a fatal overdose occurs.

Everyone can play an important role in reducing dependence on opioid drugs and fatal overdose cases. We can save lives.

Warning Signs
For Overdose
When someone overdoses on opioids, immediate medical attention is critical. Call 911 if you recognize any of the following signs of an overdose: person appears to be sleeping but won't wake up or respond to your voice or touch; breathing is very slow, irregular or has stopped; center part of their eye (pupil) is very small; fingernails and lips look blue or purple; slow heartbeat and/or low blood pressure.

Important note: If you are used to taking a certain dose of pain medicine and you stop for a while, you should not take the same dosage level if you start taking medication again. Your body may not be able to handle the previous dosage level and you could overdose. Check with your doctor before starting any medication.

For Opioid/Heroin Use
Click here for a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms

About Naloxone
Naloxone (which is most commonly known by its brand name, NARCAN®) is a medication that safely reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. The Lancaster County Overdose Prevention Collaborative, on behalf of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, is working to save lives by providing naloxone nasal spray to first responders, community partners, and interested community members in Lancaster County. An important part of this initiative is to ensure that first responding individuals have naloxone nasal spray for use when they encounter an overdose situation. Naloxone nasal spray and the NARCAN® brand version are available at participating pharmacies, both with and without a prescription. The following learning objectives need to be met in order to receive a free naloxone kit through the Overdose Prevention Collaborative:

The following learning objectives need to be met in order to receive a free naloxone kit through the Overdose Prevention Collaborative:
  • Participation in an Overdose Prevention Collaborative-sponsored educational session
  • Identify three signs and symptoms of an opiate/heroin overdose
  • Correctly state the sequence of response if/when one discovers an overdose victim
  • Demonstrate proper sequence of assembly of the mucosal atomizer device to the needle-less syringe
  • Simulate administration of the naloxone medication
  • Explain how to access available resources in Lancaster County for addiction referral and recovery
  • Commit to reporting usage of the naloxone kit and whether it was effective in reversing symptoms of an overdose to the toll-free voicemail line 1-844-9NARCAN.