ALERT: Overdoses Are On The Rise
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Prescribe Change Allegany County’s mission is to create awareness and educate the citizens of Allegany County, Maryland about the growing crisis of opioid prescription drugs, and heroin misuse and abuse in our community.
WHAT IS AN OPIOID?
An opioid (sometimes called opiate) drug is a prescription drug that is used to relieve pain. They are derived from the poppy plant and are prescribed under the more commonly known names of codeine, morphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone, as well as others.
Many do not realize that the same ingredient used to make these prescription medications is chemically altered into the illegal drug heroin.
Often times, heroin addiction starts by taking opioid prescription medications. A person can easily become addicted to one of these painkillers in just one prescription. The body builds a tolerance to the medication, requiring the individual to take more and more of it to experience the same level of relief. Over time, the person is taking more than prescribed and becomes dependent on the medication in a different way. They no longer need it to feel better, but to avoid feeling sick from the addiction.
If a person becomes addicted to a prescription opioid and can no longer obtain prescriptions legally, they may turn to heroin as a replacement.
Sadly, an injury, accident, or surgery, where a prescription opioid is used for pain management, can lead to a lifelong illness and addiction if not carefully managed.
For more information on opioid addiction, visit www.drugabuse.gov.
Desomorphine, known by the street name krokodil, is an opioid by-product of codeine mixed with other toxic chemicals, and is very similar to heroin. This drug is 8- 10 times more potent than morphine. Like heroin and other opioids, it has a sedative effect, is highly addictive, and dangerous. Withdrawal from krokodil is much worse than heroin and could last for a month.
Krokodil gets its name from the fact that the acidic drug causes an addict’s skin to become green, scaly and bumpy like a crocodile’s. If the drug misses a vein and is injected into flesh, that flesh will develop abscesses. It is common for addicts to develop gangrene and require amputations. The flesh on some body parts affected by krokodil injections will rot off completely, leaving bare bone.
FENTANYL & CARFENTANIL
Fentanyl is manufactured legally as a prescription pain medication often used for cancer patients and is administered by means of injection, patch, lozenges or lollipops. This drug is an opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and 50 times more potent than heroin.
Fentanyl is also illegally produced and sold in the following forms: as a powder; spiked on blotter paper; mixed with or substituted for heroin; or as tablets that mimic other less potent opioids. The potency greatly increases the risk of overdose, especially if a person who uses drugs is unaware that a powder or pill contains Fentanyl.
High doses of opioids, especially potent opioids such as Fentanyl, can cause breathing to stop completely, which can lead to death.
Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid and is so powerful that it's used to sedate large animals such as elephants and rhinos. It is so strong that just a few granules the size of table salt can be lethal. The Drug Enforcement Agency says it’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times deadlier than Fentanyl.
Fentanyl & Carfentanil is being laced in heroin, marijuana and cocaine, and is being pressed into illegally manufactured pills.
Click Here for a Downloadable PDF with More Information
IN THE COMMUNITY
Listen and watch for our information about the prescription drug and heroin crisis in Allegany County on our billboards, radio ads, in the newspaper and at the movies. Contact us for more information at 301.759.5050. Look for our Prescribe Change Allegany County ambassadors at the following events:
Community Naloxone Training
June 11th @ 4:30pm
- To become trained in Naloxone -
Must register in advance. Call 301-759-5050 for details.
Download Naloxone Training Application
The "Good Samaritan Law" went into effect October 1, 2014. The law establishes that, "a person who, in good faith, seeks, provides, or assists with the provision of medical assistance for a person experiencing an alcohol- or drug-related medical emergency (such as an overdose) may be immune from criminal prosecution for specific violations if the evidence was obtained solely as a result of the person reaching out for medical assistance. The bill also protects the person experiencing the medical emergency under the same conditions from prosecution for specific violations."
SPONSORED BY THE ALLEGANY COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT,
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SERVICES
Prescribe Change Allegany County
Allegany County Health Department
12501-12503 Willowbrook Road
PO Box 1745
Cumberland, Maryland 21501-1745