Yesterday was recognized as International Overdose Awareness Day, the world’s largest annual campaign to end overdose, remember those we have lost to an overdose, acknowledge the grief of the families and friends of those left behind, and to renewing our commitment to end overdose and the related harms. To continue my segment on better living through better health and freedom here, and throughout the year to come, in order to implement great healing–I will feature articles designed to improve physical, emotional and spiritual healing, especially in the post-COVID-19 era.

Versatileer  Brings you this post in regards to more safe living, through awareness of anyone’s usage of dangerous and highly toxic mind altering and mood changing substances.

Great Reasons For Anyone to Honor Overdose Awareness Day

Unfortunately usage of any drug or mind/mood altering substance can turn into abuse in a very minuscule amount of time. This means that the mirror between use becoming abuse can be so small that the first use can often times be the start of abuse. Also, the misconception of being prescribed a drug in the instance that there is an amount of pain can turn to abuse as well, because of the fact that any prescribed drug is designed to only “take the edge off” of pain–and not to provide 100% relief from pain. This can lead to more and more usage of the substance, which can lead to onset of a growing tolerance, and the beginning of a pattern of continual or increased usage–which can lead to problematic substance use. To make matters worse the more and more these patterns develop leads to the patterns that instill addiction, which is a disease that causes problems with the the using person, their families and often can be fatal. It is hoped that by offering greater education that an increased awareness of the danger of any over use of any substance. The statistics show that there is a pattern of decreasing credible information being given to younger persons, even in the schools. That, and an increasing trend towards government pushing the “because it is legal, it is safe to use” with the attitude to providing “safe using places”. Don’t forget, there is no safe way to overuse of any substance. The trend is to not have people not going to jail at all, to “sleep it off” these days, shifting the constants into another sector. The only other two sectors other than jail are highly populated hospitals for care, and death! Overuse of drugs, denial sets in very fast, very firm and can root major and devastating destruction, which includes overdosing. In a typical overdose of opioids, the user is lucky to be able to have Narcan (Naloxone) on hand in the case of overdose, which can save a life if they are lucky enough. The wait for an ambulance or fire individual may be too long to wait for a typical opioid overdose. Kee pin mind that Narcan only works on overdoses caused by opioids. This family of drugs includes prescription painkillers like OxyContin, fentanyl, methadone, and Vicodin, as well as street drugs like heroin. Narcan will not reverse overdose resulting from non-opioid drugs, like cocaine, benzodiazepines, or alcohol.

Other problems not directly connected to the overdose, but to the overuse of chemicals can be changed moods towards a violent style of behavioral health. The violence can easily lead to legal problems as well as medical problems. The unfortunate onslaught of overuse in medium to long term can lead to major depression very early–such a depression that it can really become a battle to adjust to a lifestyle of abstinence.. With denial comes changes a person’s focus, morals and being able to see the truth of whether or not a person can be really aware of whether or not addiction is leading to problems of any type. To make matters worse, justifying and rationalizing can blind a person from seeing the control a substance, including any substance, is having on their life. Denial generally changes the factor of importance of using substances into “all that matters”, leaving important daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to be on the “backburner”, and if left undone for long periods of time, can leave a devastating factor on their life, and also their family’s life, employment, legal issues, medical issues and even death. It is absolutely most important that if someone is an addict, that they realize the status–sooner than later. There is not any safe period to overuse substances because of the sometimes minute window between use and abuse. There are several resources and people who can become real friends whereby the person in need of help do not have to address a problem alone. Think of doing these changes in lifestyle can be as ugly because of the great unknown. Alleviating that the person seeking assistance don’t have to go through this along can reap many rewards and better healthy living though a life that does not include using drugs. Using substances at older ages is even more a liability although it is never deemed safe to overuse substances at any age.  There are several resources listed later at the bottom of this article.

Alcohol is a Drug:
It is very possible to overdose on Alcohol. There is sometimes the misconception that alcohol is not a drug because it has been legal for so many years. Any substance the develops dependency is a drug, and alcohol is absolutely no exception. There is no way to overuse alcohol in a safe manner. Also alcohol has an devious way to bring an addict of another substance to using that other substances again (gateway drug).

Health Related:
There is almost no such thing as a modest amount of medicine or controlled substances without becoming an excessive amount, and develops almost overnight with a need to take substances on a daily basis if not continual. Using any substances for days is very hard on the internal organs including the heart and brain, and almost always causes direct physical damage to the body. The reasons for use can need sorting out with either of social work, and getting help including going to a support group can assist in getting life back on track. With addiction to any drugs whereby there are either acute usage or even chronic usage patterns that require either daily use or patterns that envelop a person with the barrier of feeling “normal” and/or require usage on a calendric schedule almost always require care of some type, and it is very hard if not impossible to do it alone.. Also the fact that people use substances, despite the published facts, causes all sorts of physical, spiritual and emotional problems that can be disastrous. Everyone who establishes problematic use does it at their own set pace, there is no set timing to state that someone has crossed that line. It can become a really big problem if someone gets in their car and gets in an accident, that can cause property damage, injury and death to the person by being “high”.

Drug Detection Tests:
Even if someone is able to use substances and continue employment, the freedom from the use of substances, it offers the general relief immediately from the mind from running its wheels from being presented by an employer or other required test, a negative test result. It is important to note that there are several types of tests, so whichever test is required is the test results that will be obtained–on demand. The most highly used and fairest way any employer, educational, or family member including a parent can issue the demand for drug testing, is the simple, random (luck of the draw out of a hat) drug screen. The reason this should be documented is that there be no discrimination basis. Obviously arriving at any job, inspiring reasonable suspicion can be implemented be again, being documented, and a then issuance of the drug screening. And, finally, of upmost concern,  any accidents on the job or at school are immediate reasonable timing of a drug screen and can be listed on the hiring process; and also may be mandatory as per the employer’s insurance purposes. Screening for legal purposes is always issued on a signed document upon entering into any probation or parole sentence, and can and will be implemented at the drop of a dime. Note that the testing may be accurate by the tested person being accompanied by a observant, due to tampering by the person being tested. Most provisions call for the process to be observed by the person signing off on the tests. Most types of drug tests, the positive tests can test positive from either of hours to days, weeks and months–depending on the substance. The substances being either of fat soluble and water soluble can make the largest difference in having a test become positive. There are better, more accurate tests out there though, so if a drug test is presented, it is important to know that any use of any drugs can test positive. Best defense is for the person not to use if a drug test of any type is a possibility.

Sources for testing:
It is so nice to look up at the blue skies, not have to worry about scurrying through the college years hunkering down problems with substance use problems, not to have to worry about “well, what test will it be next time?” when it comes to going too far–and looking like a drug and/or alcohol test is deemed necessary due to suspicious behavior. There are multiple sources for biologic specimens (often referred to as “biological matrices” in the scientific literature):

  • Blood, with a detection of minutes to hours
  • Saliva, with a detection of minutes to several hours
  • Urine, not detected for minutes; minutes to weeks window-depends on type of test
  • Sweat, not detected for couple hours, minutes to days
  • Hair, not detected for a day or better, with a detection of days to years
  • Meconium, not detected for almost a week, with a detection of weeks to months
  • Breathalyzers are not effective to detect any substances except alcohol

The body becomes used to the substances, essentially a “tolerance”, because it starts to meddle with the body’s natural enzymes, and/or D.O.S.E., of which is explicitly explained in my article: International Day Of Happiness (How to Get Your Daily D.O.S.E. of Happiness) When it comes to passing a breathalyzer and other detection tests, it is not an art of passing, but a science. It is not possible to alter the results if a person has used substances. Don’t forget that alcohol, marijuana, a lot of over the counter drugs, and prescriptions that are mind altering and mood changing, are all considered drugs, even if they are legal.

Assessment of Dependence:

Signs of an Substance Abuse Problems:
Any use of toxic substances can be at anyone’s realm if complete awareness is not observed–at all times! It is also important to know that addiction is a medical diagnosis, and only really is arrived at between a doctor and the patient. A person can select to address being an addiction, but the condition medially is only between the privacy of the doctor/patient relationship, for medical purposes. The need to visit a hospital may arise because just taking a day off for a medically diagnosed addiction can be dangerous to be done without medical attention. Medical doctors diagnose it when a patient’s use causes distress or harm. The condition can range from mild to severe and is diagnosed when the patient answers a questionnaire with two or more “yes” answers to these questions:

In the past year, has the person:

  • Had times when an occasion has ended up using substances more, or longer than intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop using substances, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  • Spent a lot of time using substances? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving—a strong need, or urge, to using substances?
  • Found that using substances—or being sick from using substances—often interfered with taking care of the person’s home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to using substances even though it was causing trouble with the person’s family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting, or gave pleasure, in order to using substances?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after using substances that increased the chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to using substances even though it was making feelings of depression or anxiety or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Had to using substances much more than the person once did to get the effect that the person wanted? Or found that the person’s use of substances have had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of were wearing off, the person had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

Positively having a “yes” with any of these symptoms may indicate a problematic abuse condition that may already have cause for concern. The more symptoms, the more urgent the need for change. A health professional can conduct a formal assessment of symptoms. For online information concerning anyone’s use of substances, go to Search for “substance abuse assessment”.

Resources on Assistance to Control:

Starting With a Primary Care Doctor:
For anyone thinking about treatment, talking to a primary care physician is an important first step—he or she can be a good source for treatment referrals and medications. A primary care physician can also:

  • Evaluate a patient’s substance use patterns
  • Help craft a treatment plan
  • Evaluate overall health
  • Assess if medications for weaning substance overuse may be appropriate

Individuals are advised to talk to their doctors, with complete honesty, about the best form of primary treatment. Delaying treatment does not assist the individuals overall physical, mental, spiritual and/or emotional health–time is not an asset when it comes to treatment. Things usually regress given more time and avoiding the problem through the use of denial. There are many of types of professionals that are involved in care. Many health professionals can play a role in treatment. Below is a list of providers and the type of care they may offer.

Options for Treatment:
When asked how drug use problems are treated, commonly a 12-step program or 28-day inpatient rehabilitation come to mind first, but may have difficulty naming any other options. In fact, there are a variety of treatment methods currently available, thanks to significant advances in the field over the past 60 years. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and what may work for one person may not be a good fit for someone else. Simply understanding the different options can be an important first step.

Options for Treatment:
Behavioral Treatments: Behavioral treatments are aimed at changing abusive behavior through counseling. They are led by health professionals and supported by studies showing they can be beneficial.
Medications: Three medications are currently approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their drug use and prevent relapse. They are prescribed by a primary care physician or other health professional and may be used alone or in combination with counseling.

Contact Your State’s Politicians:
The push for available Narcan is going either too slow, or not at all. Politicians either know about the problem of not having enough Narcan in a feasible place close by to areas where reports of overdosing on opioids are happening–or they are not paying attention, or don’t even care at all. I suggest contacting your local and state politicians to make them aware that there are caring individuals that Narcan should be available–not “safe using places”. There is no safe way to use any substances, including opioids, except to educate people before they ever pick up the first drug. The suggestion to better educating young people to stay away from drugs altogether before the first use can lead to the buildup of loving family life.

Support Group Assistance:

There Is Help Out There:
Overuse of substances can affect people of all ages, races, sexes, and does not discriminate. It could be any member of your family, a friend, co-worker or acquaintance. Also, if someone involved with alcohol is an addict, the chances of relapsing back to a substance dependency are very high during and after drinking. It is really important to note that when someone does have a problem, that unless they are true to themselves and not only seek help, but want a change in lifestyle–all the help in the world will not assist them.

Mutual-Support Groups:

  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA), for persons directly seeking membership if they think that they are an addict in combination of any drug combination.
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA), for persons directly seeking membership if they think that they are an addict of cocaine.
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), for persons directly seeking membership if they think that they are an addicted to methamphetamines.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), for persons directly seeking membership if they think that they have a drinking problem.
  • Marijuana Anonymous (MA), for persons directly seeking membership if they think that they have a cannabis use problem.
  • Al-Anon Family Groups, for families, peers, and persons being affected by someone with a drinking problem.
  • Nar-Anon Family Groups, for families, peers, and persons being affected by someone with an addict’s behavior.
  • Celebrate Recovery, for persons directly seeking recovery with a Christian based 12-step program.
  • Other 12-step programs. . .

All 12-step programs provide peer support for people quitting or cutting back on use of any substances, including the other resources may be in the individual’s best interest to trial. There are programs for families, peers and friends who are directly affected by problematic drug abuse and/or drinking. Combined with a treatment plan led by health professionals, mutual-support groups can offer a valuable added layer of support. Many health professionals in most modern times even have direct information to provide to individuals to find a proper support group. Even though the anonymous nature of mutual-support groups make it difficult for researchers to determine the success rates compared with those led by health professionals, many have become most assured in these modern days that they are indeed a complete asset in the reliance of being able to overcome a problem of dependence of substances.

There is room for anyone to realize that it is no joke to getting over the use of any drugs and/or alcohol use. Dedicating life to getting through life, having time to balance the day is paramount for every person. That is why the International Overdose Awareness Day is important.

International Overdose Awareness Day

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