De-stigmatizing and Preventing Overdoses

Photo: Intropin / Wikipedia / CC BY 3.0

By Megan Solensky

ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – Addiction is a chronic disease, and healthcare professionals say that by recognizing it as a health issue is the first step to reducing the stigma surrounding addiction.

A sign that someone is suffering through substance abuse is that an individual has a dramatic shift in behavior. Isolation, binge spending, stealing, and loosing interest in things that once used to enjoy are some examples of this behavior shift.

Emily Kauffman, Director of Emergency Medicine & Addiction Services at Ohio State University stresses that addiction is a treatable disease and those suffering need compassion and empathy.

“There’s a common misconception that addiction of any type is a disease of choice, a disease of moral failing, and is something that is easily modified by self control,” said Emily. “That’s simply not true.”

According to the director of clinical care services at UPMC, Mandy Fauble, there has been increases in overdose deaths for the past several years here in Erie, and we are continuing that upward trend in 2022.

“Overdose numbers in the United States are climbing again,” Mandy said. “Last year, we had more Americans die of overdoses, preventable deaths, than ever before. Even right here in Erie County our numbers are ticking up again.”

Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is a medication designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Mandy assures the public that Naloxone is safe and will not be harmful if administered to an individual suffering from a non-opioid medical emergency.

Due to the rising number of overdose cases in Pennsylvania, healthcare professionals stress the importance of being prepared in case of emergency. Narcan is available at a variety of local pharmacies across the state without a prescription.


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