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Specialists warn community members about the danger of drugs

“This work is critical."
OxyContin drugs
Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 23:02:59-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The CDC said that over 70% of the nearly 71,000 drug overdose deaths in 2019 involved an opioid, which is a class of drugs used to reduce pain such as fentanyl.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse said opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but because they produce euphoria, which is a state of intense happiness in addition to the pain relief, they can be misused.

This can then lead to dependence, addiction, and in many cases death.

“This work is critical because if it is easier to get drugs in America than it is to get treatment, we’re never going to be able to bend the curve on overdose,” said Dr. Raul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Dr. Gupta said that the most important action that they can take right now is to save lives. He adds that the majority of people with substance use disorder aren't getting the treatment that they need, which is one of the main drivers of the overdose crisis.

“We know that treatment saves lives. Everyone that wants treatment should be able to get it and that’s our goal. Through the president's strategy, we will double treatment admissions for the populations most at risk of overdose death and ensure that universal access to medications for opioid use disorders occurs by 2025,” said Dr. Gupta.

In the case of an overdose emergency, Lori Meza with KSCO reminds us about a potentially lifesaving tool that is available at our local pharmacies and can be stored right within your home.

“Some drug prevention tips include contacting your local pharmacy to see if a Naloxone or Narcan is available for purchase. In the state of California, a prescription isn’t necessary to purchase a Naloxone or Narcan. A Naloxone or Narcan can save a life if someone does overdose on drugs. Seconds can truly save a life so having that on hand is a great tool.”

Meza adds that another drug prevention tip that community members can do at home is simply disposing your old medications, whether it is non-chronic or not it can still become an additive drug.

“Only take what is prescribed to you. If something is expired or you are just not going to use it anymore, it is best to keep it out of the house for the sake of an adolescent getting it or someone who doesn’t need it, using it, and potentially becoming addicted to drugs because of a pain medication.”

Every year, the D.E.A holds two “drug take back” days, where community members are able to properly dispose of their expired medications.

The next drug take back day will be held April 30.