Opioid overdoses in the US lead to educational campaigns

Opioid overdoses in the US lead to educational campaigns

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Since 2000 the rate of opioid overdose deaths has skyrocketed, with nearly 700 thousand victims since. The U.S. has the highest rate of drug overdoses in the world and the American Red Cross is launching an educational campaign to help slow down the opioid epidemic.

Every 12 minutes an American dies from an opioid overdose. While there is not an end-all solution to this crisis Deborah Finlayson, with the Red Cross South Plains Chapter, said education is the first step.

"The american red cross has put together an opioid overdose online training program, so that people can be trained to recognize the actual or suspected opioid overdose," she said.

Juan Fitz, a doctor with covenant medical group, said the training program will be the key towards reversing the trend. 

"Nothing saves more lives than educating people on certain things. For example, the stroke campaign saved a lot of people with strokes and that kind of helped reverse it. CPR was a big factor too," he said. "I think that the more educated the public is, the better and safer the situation."

The instructional video shows the application of a drug called narcan. In the past four years narcan has reversed 26 thousand overdoses. 

"What it does is it blocks the uptake of the narcotic of the opioid, and so when it blocks it, it kind of wakes the person up. It gets their breathing back and their stimulus returned," Fitz said.

 The ultimate goal of this program is to prepare people for the unexpected. 

 "You never know when something may happen, so being prepared of course is what the red cross wants you to be, and being prepared on how to handle an opioid overdose, or even a suspected overdose is very important," Finlayson said.

The 45-minute course video also explains other preventative measures to take, such as identifying the signs and symptoms before hand. 

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