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Thursday, October 3, 2019

4 Opioid-Related Drugs Parents Should Be Aware Of

The opioid epidemic continues to be a nationwide health crisis, and even younger people are vulnerable to the threat. High school and college students often begin experimenting with prescription painkilllers found in their family medicine cabinet. Many of these drugs are highly addictive and are also available for sale online and on the street. With these fundamentals in mind, here are four of the most common opioid-related drugs and what you need to know to protect your child.

1. Prescription Opioids

If your child has ever had surgery or a severe sports injury, they may have received a prescription for pain relievers such as oxycodone (brand name OxyContin®) or hydrocodone (brand name Vicodin®). However, due to these drugs’ documented high potential for abuse, addiction and overdose, many states have made it more difficult to get a prescription. These measures include strictly limiting the amount of time a patient can use opioid drugs, as well as total daily dosage.

2. Heroin

People who have developed an addiction to opioids, but can no longer get a legitimate doctor’s prescription for these medications, may begin buying their drugs in the street. Drugs like heroin can be easier to obtain, but they can also be deadlier than prescription opioids.

Heroin’s effects include:
  • Extreme happiness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Digestive problems
  • Sedation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

3. Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a lab-created opioid, can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. In legal prescription form, fentanyl has legitimate medical uses for treating severe, difficult-to-control pain. However, makers of illegal drugs often use non-pharmaceutical fentanyl to increase the heroin-like euphoria of their product, which is why fentanyl-laced drugs are a growing concern of organizations like the Drug Enforcement Administration. People may buy illicit drugs without being aware they’re laced with fentanyl, making an accidental overdose more likely. Because of fentanyl's potency, a dose as small as two milligrams is enough to be fatal for most people.

4. Naloxone

Unlike the other drugs on this list, there is no potential for abuse with naloxone, marketed as Narcan®. Instead, the timely use of naloxone can save people’s lives by reversing an opioid overdose. Because opioid overdoses typically involve the gradual suppression of the respiratory system, first responders can use naloxone to restart someone’s breathing. Naloxone works by rapidly binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the effects of opioid drugs.

Naloxone is available in a nasal spray form that makes it easy for anyone to administer, even people with no medical training. If you suspect your child is misusing opioids, it’s smart to have a supply of naloxone on hand, and familiarize yourself with the steps for responding to an opioid overdose. In some states, naloxone is available from pharmacies without a prescription.

Know the Facts

As a concerned parent, you want to be prepared so you can protect your child in any situation. Knowing the ins and outs of opioid-related drugs can help you recognize, react and respond when your child is using these drugs, and take steps to prevent their use from becoming problematic. If you need to get help for your family, Hope Academy can provide the solutions you’re looking for. Learn more about the details of our treatment program, then contact us to start the application process.
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