Opioid Prevention Toolkit

OPIOID & HEROIN AWARENESS TOOLKIT A Prevention Guide for Families


What is Harm Reduction? Harm Reduction is a set of practical strategies and ideas aimed at reducing negative consequences associated with drug use, such as the spread of HIV or hepatitis C from sharing needles, or overdose. Strategies may include overdose education, naloxone (Narcan) distribution, and needle exchange programs. This approach accepts drug use as a reality and aims to reduce its harmful consequences, rather than simply ignore or condemn them.

Health Consequences of Opioid Abuse The potential for physical and psychological addiction is very real! Drug use and abuse, including prescription medications, is associated with strong cravings for the drug, making it difficult to stop using. Most drugs alter a person’s

thinking and judgment, which can increase the risk of injury or death from drugged driving or infectious diseases, such as: HIV/AIDS HEPATITIS B & C CHLAMYDIA GONORRHEA HIGH RISK HPV GENITAL WARTS HERPES AND SYPHILIS Unfortunately, all these diseases can occur from unsafe sex practice and needle sharing associated with drug use.

In addition, drug use during pregnancy can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition in which a baby can suffer from dependence and withdrawal symptoms after birth (see page 15). Be aware: Drug use & abuse also weakens the immune system leaving you at greater risk for other health issues.

CLEAN NEEDLES TO PREVENT HEPATITIS C Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by the hepatitis C Virus (HCV). HCV is spread when blood from a person with HCV enters the blood of someone who is not infected. Most people who have HCV develop a chronic, lifelong infections which can cause serious health problems including liver disease, cirrhosis, and liver cancer - but can be cured with proper treatment. Currently there is no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C, but people can reduce the risk of becoming infected! To avoid getting HCV, avoid sharing or reusing needles, syringes, or any other equipment to prepare and inject drugs. www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/



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