Drug addiction is a life-altering disease that can lead to the compulsive use of substances that are harmful to the body. Though using drugs is initially a voluntary decision, excessive use can interfere with a person’s cognitive abilities, rendering them susceptible to constant drug abuse. The state of Ohio is critically plagued by an intense drug overdose emergency. Ohio is known to have one of the higher drug overdose death rates in the nation with an estimated 39.1 per 100,000 people succumbing to the problem in 2016. Why is Ohio’s drug problem a major concern? Recent epidemics have catapulted the state to the forefront of the country’s drug crisis.

What Is a Drug Overdose?

Drug overdoses, either accidental or intended, happen when a person ingests, inhales, or applies a higher than recommended amount of the drug. This could result in fainting, coma, or even death. There are multitudes of individuals who require substance abuse treatment. Drug addiction must be approached with the mindset of long-term recovery for its victims. The drug abuse issue is real, and empathetic solutions should be applied to keep the abuse from turning into an unnecessary overdose. Drug abuse, addiction, and overdosing are all issues that must be treated carefully in order to stop them from becoming an epidemic. There are vast reasons why this epidemic has taken over Ohio, but these reasons alone should not be why it stays this way.

Attributes to Ohio’s Drug Abuse Problem

Many users often don’t know exactly what is mixed into the illegal drugs they are smoking, consuming, or injecting. The contamination of illegal drugs in Ohio is known to be directly linked to the state’s outbreak of drug overdoses. Other factors contributing to the overdose epidemic include:

  • Access to drugs
  • Unintentional drug poisoning
  • Widespread use of opioids
  • Prescription pills
  • Pain medications

Opioid Overdose Prevention

Even with growing numbers of aggressive drug treatment programs, there is a great need to educate the population on the signs of addiction and how an overdose occurs so it can be prevented. Regulations are making it harder to attain prescription drugs, and methods are being put into place to help curb increasing opiate drug addiction. In Ohio, the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team has recommended that prevention programs specific to opioid and prescription drug abuse be taught in school health classes. Preventative educational resources are vital when it comes to learning information about the drug epidemic early in life.

What If You Are Abusing Drugs That Can Lead to Overdosing?

Ideally, taking drugs should be something that no one does. Research has shown that drug abuse is one of the leading causes of death, but with help, it can be prevented.

Drugs not only take a great toll on individual health, but they also take precious time away from loved ones. A 2016 news story about an Ohio couple who overdosed on the addictive drug heroin with their child in the backseat of their vehicle at the time illustrated the lengths that those with a substance use disorder are willing to go for a high. The viral photo, posted by local police, of the two adults unconscious in the front seat of their car showed the world the real effects that drug overdosing can have on people and their families. The story also helped highlight the fact that heroin has also become an immense problem in the state of Ohio.

Those who have a hard time with drug abuse tend to disregard responsibilities, which can have a major impact on their lives. As time goes on, their behavior and the consequences of their actions can become much worse. This is one reason why it is so important to seek help immediately if you suspect a loved one is struggling with drug addiction or you yourself need assistance with recovery.

Demographics and the Drug Problem

No one specific demographic in Ohio is immune to the evil nature of drug addiction. It does not discriminate against skin color, religion, sex, or any specific neighborhood. Anyone at any given time can overdose on drugs if the wrong amount of the drug is taken. Prevention assists a number of people in approaching and finding a solution instead of becoming a part of the problem. Embracing each other and working to find ways to help in dire situations may decrease the likelihood of overdoses.

The Trouble With Drug Abuse

There continues to be a grave concern with the abuse and overuse of drugs, particularly in states such as Ohio. Drugs are often difficult to control once addiction has set in for a person. Most times, professional help is not sought out for fear of what others will think. Illicit drugs are dangerous to use no matter the amount, and they can cause drastic and long-term effects on users. Loved ones and those in contact with users should try to help as much as possible.

Drugs can alter moods and make people feel as if they have everything under control, when in actuality, it’s likely the exact opposite. They are on a downward spiral and oftentimes do not understand the repercussions of their actions. Drugs are easily accessible, which adds to the constant use. Pressure to look or feel a certain way also tends to lead to elevated drug usage.

Once drug use gets to the point where overdosing is evident, life can take unexpected turns for users and loved ones. Children of users can be affected in detrimental ways. For example, when overdosing in public, an arrest or death is the most likely outcome. If the person has a child, then the child’s future can become uncertain.

It can often be difficult to recognize if someone is suffering from drug addiction as users can function normally in their everyday lives. Some users can continue working and remain social. Keeping a watch for any unusual behaviors is key.

Recognizing Overdose Imminent Drugs

Here are just some of the drugs to be aware of in the fight against drug overdoses:

  • Heroin
  • Barbiturates
  • Cocaine
  • Hypnotics
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy
  • LSD
  • PCP
  • Opioids

Know Symptoms of Drug Addiction

Below is a list of some of the main signs related to substance abuse

  • A constant urge to use drugs
  • Intense focus on and constant thoughts about drugs
  • A need for more drugs to achieve the same high as before
  • Spending money to purchase drugs before taking care of other obligations
  • Less of a focus on responsibilities and normal activities
  • Taking dangerous risks
  • Having withdrawal pains when trying to stop taking drugs

Supporting a Loved One Involved With Drugs

Supporting a loved one who is suffering from a drug addiction may be challenging if you do not understand how this person can be addicted to drugs to begin with. It’s important to keep in mind that those who use drugs are not bad people, and quitting is not as easy as some may think. Here are some ways to recognize a loved one’s drug abuse:

  • Decreased interest in daily activities
  • Signs of health issues
  • A lack of personal hygiene
  • Major behavioral changes
  • Constant requests to borrow funds with no explanation why

Intervention

People have intense struggles with drug addictions. They may not be fully aware of the problem or might flat out deny that a problem exists. Being reluctant to seek treatment does not mean that a person does not need treatment. Interventions can help because they show loved ones an unbiased, structured opportunity or setting to change before things get out of control. Motivation for your loved one to steer clear of drugs is also important during the intervention process.

Interventions should not be aggressive. They need to be well thought out and carefully planned. A person licensed to handle drug abuse should be present during the intervention as well. Counselors or specific intervention professionals can assist with this. The person with the addiction also needs to be surrounded by those who advocate for their healing and success such as family, co-workers, or close friends. All will gather around and show support while conversing and discussing ways to assist with the treatment. The most important thing to consider is that drug addiction can seriously lead to drug overdosing, so it’s critical to tread lightly so as not to cause added stress to the situation.

Overdose Prevention

Overdose prevention is crucial in targeting mounting drug overdoses. Sobriety and support are vital to success. If you or anyone you know is struggling with drug usage, focus quickly on recovery efforts. There are resources in Ohio, and professional guidance and addiction counseling facilities are readily available. Doctors, rehabilitation facilities, and addiction specialists are standing by and willing to offer professional and unbiased help.

Overdose prevention also means focusing on and gaining knowledge of the specific person who has the drug addiction. Each addiction is unique and must be dealt with as such. Recognizing the signs and symptoms and the ways to treat each addiction is beneficial. Realizing the drug problem and working toward getting rid of the issue and leading a better life should be a prime focus in recovery and prevention of drug overdosing.

It is important to work hard to fight the unrelenting overdose problem in Ohio. There are effective drug addiction treatments available. You or your loved one can take the first step and reach out for help as soon as possible. There are outpatient and residential care treatments that can be implemented in your life to help curtail drug addictions and overdoses.

Sobriety and Relapse

Former drug abusers should always be held accountable by loved ones and by themselves because they may be in constant danger of turning back to using drugs. Using the drug again can result in losing control over progressive efforts at sobriety and lead to abuse and overdosing. The following relapse prevention methods can help:

  • Do not falter from assigned treatment plans that are working for you. Continue to seek help and remain accountable. Go to support meetings and take medications prescribed by a licensed physician.
  • Stay away from situations, old associates, and areas that put you at risk of relapsing.
  • If you relapse, seek help right away.

Drug abuse in Ohio is constantly being researched. With the essential development of innovative programs, we can continue to combat the drug epidemic in the most effective ways. Recovery is possible with continued prevention efforts, education, hard work, and consistency. No one should face the recovery process alone. No drug addiction should result in an overdose. Working together for the benefit of drug victims will help us claim a major victory in the war on drugs.