Those Nerdy Girls would like to take a moment to remember and honor those we’ve lost to overdose.
Together, let’s help reduce the stigma of substance use disorder by recognizing it as the chronic disease it is. Any one of us can develop a chronic disease, regardless of our background, income level, education level, or any of our other intersecting identities. As with other chronic diseases, this one is not about willpower or character. It is about changes in the body, the brain specifically.
From the CDC:
“When people take [substances], the brain is flooded with chemicals that take over the brain’s reward system and cause them to repeat behaviors that feel good but aren’t healthy.
The brain adapts to continued [substance] use by developing a tolerance, which means it takes more of a [substance] to feel the same result.
Not only does this lessen the brain’s ability to resist temptation, but it can also affect the amount of pleasure a person receives from normal, healthy activities like enjoying food or the company of others.
Efforts to save lives from drug overdose are continually evolving.”
Just like treatment for other chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure, we have medications and other modalities for the treatment of substance use disorder.
One way to prevent overdose is to know there is effective treatment, seek treatment or encourage treatment for loved ones, reminding them or ourselves that there is no shame in having a chronic disease.
Specifically for opioid use disorder we have, MOUDs–medications for opioid use disorder:
Another way to prevent overdose is to know about, promote and even carry Narcan. This approach is similar to how many people carry CPR mouth guards in case they witness someone going into cardiac arrest.
Narcan is a medicine that is available in all 50 states. A common form of it–for use in the community–is sprayed into the nose of a person who is showing signs of overdosing from an opioid. It can be life saving! Learn more about Narcan here.
To recap, let us:
– Acknowledge and actively reduce the stigma of substance use disorder
– Recognize it as a chronic disease
– Promote harm reduction and/or treatment
– Be ready for emergencies!
#EndOverdose on International Overdose Awareness Day.
CDC Information on Opioid Use Disorder and Stigma Reduction