Serious Addiction Can Start
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South Central PA Opioid Awareness Coalition: A united front in the war against opioid and heroin abuse
To bring together health systems; hospitals; medical, dental and behavioral health providers; pharmacists; and health-care professional associations and organizations to address the opioid addiction and heroin crisis through awareness, education and action. View Coalition Fact Sheet.
We are committed to working together to keep our patients, their families and the community safe from prescription pain medication and heroin misuse and poisonings.
- Foster coalitions and networks
- Promote community education
- Educate providers
- Change organizational practices
- Strengthen individual knowledge and skills
Opioid Misuse and Abuse
There have been recent changes to how opioid medications (Oxycodone, OxyContin® hydromorphone, fentanyl, morphine) are used to treat pain. Here’s why:
- In 2015 in Pennsylvania, 10 people died each day due to drug poisoning from prescription opioid/heroin use
- We now know opioids are not as effective or safe for treatment of chronic pain as once thought
- Too many prescribed medications end up in the hands of those who are not the intended recipients—including our youth
- It is impossible to know who may develop problems with these medications
Actions you can take:
- Ask about non-opioid care for your pain
- Lock up your medications at all times and safely dispose of left overs
- Understand and share the fact that providers are now asking patients to sign a controlled substance agreement and undergo drug screenings to assist in keeping our community safe
- Let your doctor or pharmacist know if you have concerns or problems with misuse of medication
Warning Signs For Overdose
When someone overdoses on opioids, immediate medical attention is critical. Call 911 if you notice any of the following signs:
Opioid pain patches on skin or needle in the body, along with a history of current heroin or opioid use
Slow/shallow respiration or no breathing
Snoring or gurgling sounds (due to partial upper airway obstruction)
Blue lips and/or nails
Naloxone Hydrochloride (Narcan®) is medication used to reverse opioid overdose.
The PA Department of Health provides a standing order to ensure that state residents who are at risk of an opioid-related overdose, or are family members, friends, or other in a position to assist an at-risk person, are able to obtain Naloxone.
Learn more at www.PA.gov.
News & Events
This resource examines the role of language in perpetuating substance use disorder stigma, click here to learn more.
The hotline PA Get Help Now number is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).