Decisions Matter: Opioid Awareness
Addiction is a Disease. Recovery is a Decision. Decisions Matter
Treatment is Available
If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse, treatment is available locally.
Contact the Worcester Addictions Cooperative Services Center at 410-213-0202 for more information.
Naloxone Can Reverse Overdoses and Save Lives
What is Naloxone/Narcan?
Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.
Worcester County Health Department offers Naloxone trainings for free to all interested community members across the county. Trainings are held in Snow Hill every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month. If you would like to attend a free Naloxone training or learn more, please call the Worcester County Health Department at 410-632-0056.
Watch the Addiction Recovery Public Awareness Video Below
Throw out expired medications
Most opioid abusers don’t begin with heroin and instead start by misusing prescription opioids like painkillers which may only require a trip to the family medicine cabinet. It is vital for parents and guardians to realize that even if their doctor prescribed it, an opioid can be dangerous and addictive if misused. Medicine cabinets need to be monitored and expired prescriptions disposed of safely. There are three medicine drop-boxes across Worcester at both the northern and southern ends of the county.
Be a Hero, Save a Life: Call 911 in the event of an overdose
The Maryland Good Samaritan Law effective October 1, 2015, provides protection from arrest as well as prosecution for certain specific crimes and expands the charges from which people assisting in an emergency overdose situation are immune. If someone calls 911 in an effort to help during an overdose crisis, or they are experiencing an overdose, their parole and probation status will not be affected, and they will now not be arrested, charged, or prosecuted for:
- Possession of a controlled dangerous substance,
- Possession or use of drug paraphernalia,
- Providing alcohol to minors.
To view a Good Samaritan fact sheet, public service announcement, and more information from the Maryland Department of Health, click here
From the MD 2-1-1 website: Every hour of every day, people need essential human services. They are looking for help finding affordable housing, food, employment training, utility payment assistance, services for their children or aging parents, and many other issues.
2-1-1 Maryland is partnership of four agencies working together to provide simple access to health and human services information. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects people with important community services. Our specially trained call specialists answer calls 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The 2-1-1 database has information on nearly 5,000 agencies and programs across the state. Each week 2-1-1 Maryland handles thousands of calls from people in need, providing referrals to services and helping people problem-solve when the services they need are not available.
Whether you are an individual looking for help for yourself, a friend or family member, or someone who works for an agency calling on behalf of someone you serve, we are here to help you find resources to help solve your problem. Call us by dialing 2-1-1 on your phone or explore the website and database. md211.org
Know How to Spot the Signs of Addiction
According to the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, here are some of the most common indicators of drug abuse:
- Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
- Frequent nosebleeds could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
- Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
- Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
- Impaired coordination, injuries/accidents/bruises that they won’t or can’t tell you about- they don’t know how they got hurt.
- Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
- Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.
- Behavioral signs of alcohol or drug abuse.
- Skipping class, declining grades, getting in trouble at school.
- Drop in attendance and performance at work--loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise--decreased motivation.
- Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
- Missing money, valuables, prescription or prescription drugs, borrowing and stealing money.
- Acting isolated, silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
- Clashes with family values and beliefs.
- Preoccupation with alcohol and drug-related lifestyle in music, clothing and posters.
- Demanding more privacy, locking doors and avoiding eye contact.
- Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
- Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).
- Using incense, perfume, air freshener to hide smell of smoke or drugs.
- Using eyedrops to mask bloodshot eyes and dilated pupils.
- Psychological warning signs of alcohol or drug abuse.
- Unexplained, confusing change in personality and/or attitude.
- Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
- Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
- Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appears lethargic or “spaced out.”
- Appears fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.
To learn more, visit NCADD
Opioids are powerful drugs.
Opioids are drugs that slow down the actions of the body, such as breathing and heartbeat. Opioids also affect the brain to increase pleasant feelings.
People take opioids for medical reasons.
Doctors prescribe opioid medication to treat pain and sometimes for other health problems such as severe coughing. The medication comes in a pill, a liquid, or a wafer. It also comes in a patch worn on the skin.
Examples of prescribed opioid medications include:
• Codeine—an ingredient in some cough syrups and in one Tylenol® product
• Hydrocodone—Vicodin®, Lortab®, or Lorcet®
• Oxycodone—Percocet®, OxyContin®, or Percodan®
• Hydromorphone—Dilaudid® • Morphine—MSContin®, MSIR®, Avinza®, or Kadian®
• Propoxyphene—Darvocet® or Darvon®
Addiction in the Workplace
Could you spot the signs of substance use in the workplace? Even when it takes place off-the-clock, substance use can take a heavy toll on workers’ productivity, health, and happiness. Worcester County Health Department can provide material and training to help managers and owners understand the signs of addiction in employees and to connect those in need to local treatment resources.
The hospitality industry is the largest employer in Worcester County and has some of the highest rates of illicit drug and alcohol use. In 2017, 59-percent of individuals in Worcester County Drug Court worked in the foodservice industry. The impact from substance use, especially use in the workplace, can ripple out to affect every aspect of the business. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, drug-using employees take three times as many sick benefits as other workers. Substance use also puts staff at-risk for injury on the job and generates additional work for others. Those suffering from addiction can experience mood changes, loss of income, and negative, long-term health consequences.
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of certain varieties of poppy plants. Impure heroin is usually dissolved, diluted, and injected into the veins, muscles, or under the skin. A nationwide survey indicates that heroin users are attracted to the drug not only for the “high” but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers.
The Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) showed that 7.4-percent of 12th graders in Worcester County had used heroin. In appealing to youth, the task force will emphasize the loss of decision making that comes with dependence and the ease of slipping into addiction. Lives are being lost every year, often in their prime, due to a lack of understanding of the problem. In 2014 alone there were 14 accidental overdose deaths in Worcester County, up from 6 the year before. Heroin and prescription opioids make up the majority of those deaths across the state as of 2014.
Maryland DHMH Overdose Statistics
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication that can be used to save a life in the event of an opiate overdose. The Health Department offers Naloxone trainings for friends, family members and anyone that might come in contact with an opioid abuser. For more information on trainings call 410-213-0202.
Need to Dispose of Expired Medications Safely? Find the Prescription Dropoff Box Closest to You by Clicking Below
Funding provided by Maryland BHA and SAMHSA.