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Prevention of Opioid Abuse

Substance use disorder is a major public health concern in New York State. To help address the problem it's important to educate yourself on the basic facts and ways to prevent addiction.

Prevent the misuse of prescription medications.



Overdose Education: 
When there is too much of an opioid in the body, a person can lose consciousness and stop breathing – this is an overdose. An opioid overdose can happen suddenly or come on slowly over a few hours. Without oxygen, a person can die.


What are the risk factors for opioid overdose?

  • Using opioids again after your tolerance has dropped (e.g., like after being in treatment, a hospital, or jail). After a break from opioids, the body can’t handle as much as it did before.

  • Taking prescription pain medication more often or in higher doses than prescribed-or using someone else’s prescription pain medication. The dose could be too much.

  • Using heroin or pills bought on the street. Heroin and street pills often contain other substances that can be dangerously toxic.

  • Using opioids with alcohol or other drugs including sleeping pills, benzodiazepines (“benzos” like Valium and Xanax), cocaine and methamphetamine.

  • Any current or chronic illness that weakens the heart or makes it harder to breathe.

  • Using opioids alone. You are more likely to die from an overdose if no one is there to help.

  • Previous overdose. A person who has overdosed before is more likely to overdose again.

Opioid-related overdose has increased as a health-threat, which has led New York State to pass a life-saving law making it legal for non-medical persons to administer naloxone (Narcan) to another individual in order to prevent an opioid or heroin overdose from becoming fatal by reversing the overdose. 

Link people to treatment.

Help those who are experiencing the symptoms of a substance use disorder get appropriate treatment and crisis intervention:

Be involved and engaged.

People who are involved and engaged in their family and friends lives are more likely to notice the warning signs of substance abuse and are able to prevent it before it happens. If you think someone you care about is using heroin or other opioids, start a conversation with them today. 




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