​Prevention

Prevention​ means reducing overdose deaths and limiting harms from using substances.​​​​​

Learn about prevention strategies:

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There are four goals to prevention

Prevent substance use
Learn about the risks of using drugs, including fentanyl contamination. Talk to a trusted medical provider, therapist or supportive friend if you are experiencing pain or mental health challenges.
Reduce harm from opioids
and other substances
For people who do use drugs, know how to reduce risk of overdose through harm reduction.
Treat substance use disorder
Treatment for opioid dependance or substance use disorder can prevent death and other harms from substance use. Treatements are safe and effective. Treatment may involve medication, counseling and other supports. Learn more about treatments for substance use disorder.
Stop overdose death
Recognize the signs of opioid overdose and use naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdose, to save lives.
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Learn to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose.

Opioid overdose is typically characterized by severe difficulty breathing or not breathing at all, which can lead to death. The person will generally be nonresponsive and unconscious. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Blue, purple or grayish skin tinge—especially in lips and nails
  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Breathing is very slow or weak, or has stopped
  • Breathing sounds unusual, with deep snoring, gurgling or wheezing
  • Pale, cold and/or clammy skin
  • The pulse is faint
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Does not respond to stimulation

Many fatal opioid overdoses can be prevented by recognizing the signs of an overdose and responding with an overdose reversal medication.

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