Opioid Overdose Prevention

Opioids are used as medicines to cure pain and opioid dependence. If used in excess or without proper medical supervision, opioids can cause fatal respiratory depression. In cases of fatal overdose, the victim’s breathing rate slows to the point where oxygen levels in the blood fall below the level needed to transfer oxygen to the vital organs. As oxygen saturation (normally greater than 97 per cent) falls below 86 per cent, the brain struggles to function. Typically, the individual becomes unresponsive, blood pressure steadily decreases and the heart rate slows, ultimately leading to cardiac arrest. Death can occur within minutes of opioid ingestion. But often, prior to death there is a longer period of unresponsiveness lasting up to several hours. This period is sometimes associated with loud snoring, leading to the term “unarousable snorers”.

 

  • Prescription Monitoring Program
  • Co-ingestion
  • Naloxone Intervention
  • Best Practices in Opioid Prescription

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