Hot Topic: Opioids: Same Epidemic, New Solutions
Opioids include illegal drugs such as heroin and legal pain relievers like morphine, codeine, oxycontin, and fentanyl. These legal pain relievers are often over-prescribed by doctors, causing many patients to become addicted and misuse their medication. People who do become addicted and cannot obtain pain relievers will often begin using heroin to get the same euphoric high. In 2017, there were 692 opioid-related fatal overdoses in Baltimore City.
Know Your Opioids
- Medication names: Actiq, Fentora, Onsol
Moderate Strength Opioids:
- Medication name: Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet, OxyConti, Percocet, Percodan, Tylox, Combunox, Opana, Embeda, Kadian, Avinza, MS Contin, Norco, tylenol-3
- Medication name: Ultram, Ultracet, Talwin, Darvon, Subtex, Suboxone, Demerol
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, which is 30 to 50 times more powerful than morphine. Its is increasingly being mixed with street-sold heroin or cocaine, making the effects of the drug stronger
What is Naloxone?
- Naloxone (also called Narcan) was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an overdose reversal prescription medication.
- Naloxone restores breathing and consciousness for those who are overdosing
- Naloxone can be given to a person who is overdosing either by nasal spray or a shot and lasts 30-90 minutes. Naloxone is not addictive and has few side effects, will not get a person high, and is safe for children and pregnant women
- It will only work for people who have opioids in their system
- After a person receives naloxone they may have withdrawal symptoms (ex. vomiting, nausea, discomfort etc.)
- After administering naloxone 911 should still be called since the medication only lasts 30-90 minutes
Understanding the Good Samaritan Law
As of October 1, 2015, the State of Maryland has passed the Good Samaritan Law to protect people assisting in an overdose related emergency.
What does this mean for you?
If you call 911 while assisting someone experiencing an overdose and you are in possession of a controlled dangerous substance (i.e drugs), drug paraphernalia, or are providing alcohol to minors, your parole or probation status will not be affected and you will not be arrested, charged and/or prosecuted.
The Good Samaritan Law exists in order to encourage people who may be doing/ or in possession of drugs to stay with an individual who is overdosing and administer Narcan or call 911. In the past, some individuals would leave the scene of an overdose rather than staying to provide assistance, because of the fear of being arrested if they themselves were using drugs or were in possession of drugs.
For more information: http://bha.dhmh.maryland.gov/OVERDOSE_PREVENTION/Pages/Good-Samaritan-Law.aspx
Do I need a prescription or need to be trained to get Narcan/ Naloxone in Baltimore City?
No, you do not need a training certificate or prescription. On June 1, 2017, the Baltimore City Health Commissioner issued a standing order so that individuals can go to any pharmacy in Baltimore City and obtain Narcan without having a training certificate or prescription. Although training is not required, you should either attend one in person or watch one online to know how to use Narcan properly.
How you can take action and help your community?
Opioid Overdose Public Trainings
Free training on how to administer Narcan:
Keep your Naloxone refilled and with you at all times
For those needing additional Narcan visit your local pharmacy. It is important to think about having Narcan on you at all times.You never know when you may have to use it. Consider keeping some in your purse, backpack, or somewhere where it can be easily accessed in your house.
Help for Those With Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders 410-637-1900 and enter “option 1”