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Did you know? The number of drug overdose deaths increased by nearly 30% from 2019 to 2020 and has quintupled since 1999. Nearly 75% of the 91,799 drug overdose deaths in 2020 involved an opioid. 187 people die every day from an opioid overdose.¹

Medical personnel, emergency departments, first responders, public safety officials, mental health and substance use treatment providers, community-based organizations, public health, and members of the community must all be willing to bring awareness, resources and expertise to address this complex and fast-moving epidemic.

Together, we can better coordinate efforts to prevent opioid overdoses and deaths.

  • Prescribers can prescribe opioids with confidence by using the CDC Opioid Guideline Mobile App. This app helps providers apply the recommendations of CDC’s Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. Features include MME calculator, prescribing guidance, and how to use motivational interviewing techniques and practice effective communication skills.
  • Use Teach-Back which is an evidence-based health literacy intervention that promotes patient engagement, self-management skills and patient safety. The Teach-Back method is a communication technique used to help patients/residents remember and understand the important information regarding their diagnosis, treatment, or medication.
  • It is important that the people who receive prescriptions for opioids know where to discard the unused medicine. Learn about drug take-back programs in your area and provide this information to your patients/residents. South Dakota Avoid Opioid & ND Take Back Program Locations has identified specific locations (by county) where someone may take unused opioids and other drugs of concern.

It is important to keep everyone safe through awareness and knowledge. As a healthcare community, we can work to ensure that everyone understands that anyone taking a prescription opioid is at risk for an overdose, whether intentional or not. We never know when we might run into a person having a drug overdose in our workplace, neighborhood or community.

Naloxone (Narcan) saves lives. Narcan is safe and used to reverse opioid overdose.  It quickly restores normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.

  • In South Dakota, any person who is at risk of an opioid-related overdose (anyone who is prescribed an opioid) or is able to assist an at-risk person (family member or friend) can get Naloxone (Narcan) from a pharmacy without a prescription. Visit AvoidOpioids to learn more.
  • In North Dakota, Recovery Reinvented has a link to request free 2-dose Narcan kit after completing an online form or calling a behavioral health team member.

Combat the stigma of behavioral health issues, opioid misuse and improve the access and prescribing of medication assisted treatment. Research has shown that a combination of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help prevent or reduce opioid overdose and help sustain recovery.

Learn More:

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Understanding the Opioid Overdose Epidemic 

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Join us for our Friday Focus 4 Health Learning Series on Opioids; the first session starts this Friday, January 6. Register today!
To learn more about our Friday Focus 4 Health Learning Series, view our December 6, 2022 series Launch recording.