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Strategies to Help Prevent Overdose

Here are some strategies that family and friends can employ to help prevent drug overdose:

1.  Education and Awareness
Educate yourself and others about the dangers of drug overdose, including the signs and symptoms. Stay informed abut the types of drugs that are commonly used and their potential 
 2.  Open Communication
Create an environment where open, non-judgmental communication is encouraged. Encourage family members and friends struggling with substance abuse to speak openly about their concerns, challenges, and experiences.
3.  Supportive Communication
Maintain strong and supportive relationships with loved ones who are struggling with substance abuse. Offer them emotional support, understanding, and encouragement to seek help.
4.  Encourage Treatment
Acknowledge and understand that substance abuse is a complex issue that often requires professional help. Encourage loved ones to seek treatment options such as therapy, counseling, or rehabilitation programs.
5.  Dispose of Unused Medications Properly
Safely store and dispose of all prescription medications that are no longer needed, especially painkillers and opioids. Many communities have designated drop-off location or take-back programs for medication disposal.
6.  Prevention Strategies
Encourage  and support healthy lifestyle choices, such as engaging in physical activity, pursuing hobbies, and participating in positive social activities. These can serve as protective factors against substance abuse.
7.  Encourage Responsible Use
If someone is using prescription medications, remind them to follow their doctor's instructions and dosage guidelines and to avoid mixing substances that may enhance the risk of overdose.
8.  Naloxone Awareness
Educate yourself about naloxone (brand name Narcan), an emergency medication that can reverse opioid overdose. Familiarize yourself with how to administer naloxone and keep it readily available if you suspect someone might be at risk.
9.  Recognize the Signs of Overdose
Learn how to recognize the signs of drug overdose, such as slowed or erratic breathing, unresponsiveness, pale face, or blue lips and/or nails. If you suspect someone may be overdosing, call emergency services immediately.
10.  Encourage Peer Support
Encourage loved ones who are struggling with substance abuse to seek support from peer groups or organizations that are focused on recovery and sobriety. Remember, preventing drug overdose requires a collective effort from the community, including family, friends, and professionals.

FamiliesACT! is a 501c3 charitable organization that was started in 2006 by mothers whose adult dually-diagnosed children died of an overdose in Santa Barbara.

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