Overdose prevention & treatment

Opioid use is a growing concern in Stark County. For the past several years, opioid overdose has been the leading cause of injury-related death in Ohio. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 37 percent of unintentional overdose deaths are caused by prescription painkillers.

Opiates and opioids are similar, highly addictive drugs. Opiates, including heroin, morphine and codeine are made from the opium poppy plant. Opioids is a broader term that includes opiates and synthetic opioids such as prescription painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, as well as fentanyl and methadone.

Opioids are easy to come by for kids, teens and adults.  Most physicians prescribe these synthetic opiates for the right reasons, but some people increase their own doses when it’s not medically necessary. If opioids are not properly stored at home, kids can easily access them to use themselves or to sell.

Because opioid use has turned into an epidemic, you should know the signs of an overdose and what to do in that situation.

If someone is in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, here are some resources to prevent overdose and to support someone who is using opioids.

Who is at risk of an opioid overdose?

There is no guarantee that someone using opioids will not overdose. Some groups of people are at a higher risk. They include:

  • Those who mix drugs with alcohol, benzodiazepines or antidepressants
  • Those with a lowered tolerance for processing drugs
  • Those who have had a previous nonfatal overdose
  • High-dose opioid prescription user (greater than 80mg morphine equivalent)
  • Methadone prescription use
  • Illicit opiate use
  • Opioid use and smoking, COPD, emphysema, or other respiratory illness or obstruction
  • Opioid use and kidney dysfunction or lover disease
  • Opioid use and HIV/AIDS
  • Opioid use and concurrent alcohol or other drug use
  • Opioid use and mental health medications or sedating medications
  • People who have a short period of sobriety
  • Veterans and injured workers
  • New clients of methadone or other medication assisted treatment programs for addiction or pain management
Ways to prevent an overdose

It can be difficult to tell the differences between someone who is very high and someone who is experiencing an overdose. If you’re unsure, consider the situation an overdose and get help immediately.

If someone is high on heroin or pills, their pupils may appear small, they’ll have slack muscles, they might nod out or be out of it but react to outside stimulus, their speech may be slurred, and their skin will be itchy.

A person who is high might make unfamiliar sounds in their sleep. Many people think it’s snoring, when in fact the person is overdosing.  Again, treat the situation like an overdose if you’re even slightly unsure.

Do not leave someone alone if you think they’re getting too high. If they’re conscious, keep them awake, pay attention to how they’re breathing and get them to walk around.

What to do in the case of an overdose

It can be difficult to recognize an overdose, so if you’re not sure, you should treat the situation like one. Call 911 right away and stay with the person until help arrives. Follow the directions of the 911 operator and tell the medical professionals everything the victim consumed or may have consumed.

If you have an overdose kit, you can administer naloxone to the person.

Do not do the following in the case of an overdose:

  • Do not allow the victim to “sleep it off”
  • Do not put the victim in a bath or shower
  • Do not inject the victim with anything
  • Do not leave the victim alone
  • Do not treat the victim with home remedies that do not work and often postpone potentially life-saving medical treatment
  • Do not postpone calling 911 while cleaning up

It can be difficult to recognize an overdose. Signs could include the following:

  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Choking or snore-like gurgling sounds
  • Tiny, constricted pupils
  • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
  • Pale, blue or cold skin, lips, face and hands
  • Slow, erratic pulse
  • May complain of elevated body temperature
  • May behave irrationally or seem confused
  • Vomiting
  • Limp body
  • Unresponsive to outside stimuli like loud noises or someone lightly shaking them
  • May not respond to painful stimulation such as rubbing knuckles across his/her sternum
Where to get an opioid overdose kit

If someone you know uses opiates, you should have an overdose kit on hand and know how to use it. They are free to Stark County residents from the resources listed below. Opiate overdose kits include naloxone (NARCAN Nasal Spray or EVZIO) that can reverse overdoses and the effects of opioids on the central nervous system.

Stark County residents can get a free overdose kit from the following places:

Alliance City Health Department

Collaborates with public health partners to protect Alliance residents.
537 East Market St.
Alliance, OH 44601
Phone: (330) 821-7373, ext. 13
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Mon.
8:30 am - 4:15 pm
Tue.
8:30 am - 4:15 pm
Wed.
8:30 am - 4:15 pm
Thu.
8:30 am - 4:15 pm
Fri.
8:30 am - 4:15 pm

Alliance Community Hospital

Health care facility dedicated to improving the health of Alliance residents and surrounding communities.
200 East State St.
Alliance, OH 44601
Phone: (330) 821-8503

Coleman Crisis Services

2421 13th Street NW
Canton, OH 44708
Phone: (330) 452-6000
Hours: Tuesday through Friday (24 hours per day); Saturday between 4 p.m. to midnight; Monday between midnight to 4 p.m.

CommQuest Services: Canton

Medication-assisted recovery clinic offering methadone and Suboxone as well as outpatient counseling and drug testing.
1341 Market Ave. N
Canton, OH 44714
Phone: (330) 453-8252

Regional Center for Opiate Recovery (ReCOR)

Ambulatory detox facility and outpatient services certified by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
1660 Nave Rd. SE
Massillon, OH 44646
Phone: (330) 837-9411
Helpful links

Community & Family Resources

Collection of helpful heroin and opiate support resources.

Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition

Advocating for education and awareness to help influence public policies and strengthen Ohio communities.

NAMI Smarts for Advocacy

Helping individuals, families and friends affected by mental illness to transform their experiences into grassroots advocacy campaigns.

Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services

Information about prevention, treatment and recovery resources in Ohio.

Opiate Toolkit

Resources for students, educators and parents as they work to address our area’s increasing opiate epidemic.

Stark Heroin Epidemic

Learn where to go and what to do if you or a loved is suffering from heroin or prescription opiate use.