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International Overdose Awareness Day Encourages More Education About Addiction

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
International Overdose Awareness Day Encourages More Education About Addiction

Record overdose numbers in the Upper Cumberland indicate a greater need for awareness of the dangers of addiction and overdose.

That’s according to Regional Overdose Prevention Specialist Suzanne Angel. Tuesday is International Overdose Awareness Day, and Angel said that the key to bringing awareness to the issue comes from talking.

“I think we need to talk about our mental health,” Angel said. “We need to reduce stigma so people aren’t ashamed to reach out for help that have substance use disorder. And I would really encourage people to carry naloxone. Does not treat substance use disorder, it saves lives it restores breathing so that people can recover from substance use disorder.”

Angel said that drug overdoses have been on the rise since 2017. She said she thinks that the pandemic has exacerbated the issue because people tend to go to substance abuse to deal with emotional pain. She said that job loss, anxiety, and pandemic stress paired with stimulus money and tax refunds created a temptation for those with substance abuse issues to buy drugs.

Angel said that overdose is the number one cause of accidental death in the United States and the number one cause of death in people under 50. She said that in understanding addiction and knowing how to use naloxone, or NARCAN, everyone in the community can play a part in alleviating the opioid epidemic.

“Overdose does not discriminate,” Angel said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from. Whether you live in the city, whether you live in the country, how much money you make, what education you have, it can happen to anyone. A lot of times we have an image in our minds of people that overdose, but I tell you it can happen to people that don’t even have a drug use disorder.”

Angel said it can be a first-time drug user, a young person experimenting in the medicine cabinet, or a person with chronic pain mixing up their medications. She said that’s it’s important to remove stigma when it comes to drug use disorders and and overdoses, so that people can talk openly and understand the issue at hand.

The post International Overdose Awareness Day Encourages More Education About Addiction appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.