International Overdose Awareness Day 2024: All You Need To Know

The International Overdose Awareness Day, held every year on August 31, is a global event to raise awareness about overdosing, reducing drug-related death stigma, and acknowledging the grief that families and friends across the globe feel. The event first started in 2001 in Australia by SJ Finn. He, at the time, was involved in managing the needle and syringe program in Victoria. The event is honored by the Pennington Institute since the year 2012. 

 

Facts and Stats 

As per the World Drug Reports from 2017, approximately 585,000 people die due to drug abuse and overdose. Opioids accounted for most of these deaths, while these deaths were reversible and avoidable in some cases. 

North America has continued to experience one of the highest drug-related mortality rates in the world. Almost 1 in every four deaths related to drugs globally is from the United States of America. As of April 2024, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated the number of people who died due to drug overdose from 12 months to the end of September 2020 as 90,237. 

 

What is drug overdose? 

 

A case of drug overdose usually means one drug or a combination of pills has entered a 

person's body and is affecting it in ways more than it can cope with it. There are multiple signs and symptoms of overdose, and they differ with the type of drug used, the health of the person, and other potential factors. All medicines can cause an overdose, even medications prescribed by doctors. Therefore, it is essential to know the right amount of drugs that need to be consumed and the right time to consume them. It is necessary even if you or your loved ones are not abusing substances and alcohol. It is also necessary to know what drugs can be mixed and what cannot be, and ways to seek help and help others when you or someone you know is not in control of themselves due to drug usage. 

 

Brain damage due to overdosing 

 

 

Drug misuse can lead to potentially permanent brain damage and injuries. Hypoxic brain injuries can be caused due to a lack of oxygen, which is often an under-reported consequence of overdosing. This can lead to seizures, coma, and sometimes even death. 

 

Long-term consequences of hypoxia depend on how long someone's brain is without an adequate oxygen supply. The longer the person does not breathe, the more damage is being caused to their brain. 

 

Brain injuries and damage can cause mild-severe impairment of:

 

1. Balance, movement, and coordination 

2. Hearing and vision senses

3. Written and verbal communication

4. Memory, thinking, and concentration ability

 

In some cases, severe brain injuries due to overdosing can leave people in a vegetative state. 

 

First Aid for Drug Overdose

To honor the International Overdose Awareness Day, Cured has collected information from specialists on the range of signs and symptoms that can occur when a person has overdosed. Every person responds differently, and everyone's signs and symptoms will depend on different factors, including the time of consuming the drug or what drug is taken, the state of the person's health, etc. 

 

If the person who has overdosed does not seem to respond, do not assume they are asleep. It could take hours for some people who have overdosed to die. 

Overdosing is a severe medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention. Always ensure that you call 911 for an ambulance if you suspect someone has overdosed. 

 

When to call an ambulance?

 

 

In overdose cases, people are often reluctant to call an ambulance due to their fear of police involvement and legality. For such fears, people usually take up the risk of losing their loved ones to overdose. However, you should always make sure you are calling for an ambulance in time if you suspect someone is at the risk of a drug overdose. In many places, the police will only be involved in overdosing cases if there is a severe fatality involved or other circumstances calling for police attention, like a threat to the paramedics.

 

Seeking help through emergency services is not just for when someone you know is unconscious due to overdosing. You should also seek medical help when you witness someone:

 

- Having a seizure 

- Has severe headache 

- Having chest pains 

- Experiences difficulty in breathing 

- Is paranoid, confused, and agitated

 

People don't need to have all of the signs mentioned above together. Even exhibiting or experiencing one or two of these signs could mean they are in trouble and require emergency help. 

 

Do not ignore snoring and gurgling 

 

Both snoring as well gurgling indicate that a person is experiencing breathing difficulties.

In substance abuse cases, people usually experience a sort of slow down of their bodily systems. Snoring indicates severe, potentially life-threatening damage or obstruction to their airway. 

Snoring should not be considered as "normal" or "ignorable" in cases of substance use. Do not let someone just sleep it off, especially if they are snoring. The snoring can indicate a potentially significant and life-threatening emergency. It would be best if you attempted to wake the person up as soon as you could. 

If they do wake up, the snoring should resolve, meaning the airway obstruction should go away. However, in cases where the person does not wake up, call 911 for an ambulance. Follow the instructions the operator is trying to offer you, and wait till the paramedics arrive.

 

The Event

The event was first observed in the year 2001 in Victoria, Australia. Across the country and New Zealand, 6000 silver ribbons were distributed among people to mark the day. Since then, the event has grown further and is recognized in over 40 countries today. Sadly, so have the death tolls due to overdosing. 

 

In 2018, vigils were held in Vancouver, where approximately 40 people died due to overdose in July. In 2017, 6,234 deaths were seen in Vancouver. The Ontario Pharmacists Association started issuing warnings about the dangers of overdosing on drugs.

 

Philadelphia saw 1217 people succumb to overdosing in 2017, the highest death rate among major US cities. The Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Council of Orange County, New York, organized a candlelight vigil to honor the occasion that year. The Council also organized a remembrance ceremony at the Goshen Village Square. Multiple guests, friends, and family members came in with various mementos for their lost loved ones. 

 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the upcoming event is being live-streamed across the country and in 4 cities across the United Kingdom. 

 

Events 2024 

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, i.e., the UNODC, along with the International Society of Substance Use Professionals, are organizing a webinar broadcast worldwide from Vienna. The event will focus on "Evidence-based approaches to Opioid Overdose Recognition and Management: Share the facts - Share lives" on August 31, 2024. 

 

Experts will come together and deliver presentations to international audiences about Opioid Overdose Prevention, touching upon the following topics: 

 

- Introduction to opioid overdose, its features, and how to recognize 

- Prevention of risks and the occurrence of overdosing 

- Availability of interventions like take-home naloxone and recent findings on the effectiveness of naloxone

- Implementing challenges and available resources

 

The event can be viewed in your time zone after registering for the same on the official website. 

 

How to show support?

The International Overdose Awareness Day symbols include silver badges, purple wristbands, and a purple lanyard. Together, they are known to raise awareness against the detrimental effects of overdosing and its implications on the lives of thousands of people every year, especially their family, friends, and loved ones. Wearing these symbols denotes you are part of the demonstration in support of the people who have lost their loved ones to a drug overdose. The symbols also remind people that every life is precious and holds immense value and meaning. 

 

Final Words

The International Overdose Awareness Day is globally the largest campaign to end overdose, remember those who have died, console the families and friends left behind, and be there in their grief. Remember them, act in time. #EndOverdose. 

 

 

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS. Multiple immature follicles or Ovarian cysts

Discover 10 Most Effective Natural Treatments for PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) affects individuals with ovaries, causing hormonal imbalances that lead to various symptoms and potential complications. While medical interventions exist, a growing number of individuals seek natural methods to manage PCOS. Lets learn the effects of PCOS and explore various natural treatment options.Understanding PCOSPCOS is a complex hormonal disorder that impacts the ovaries, typically during the reproductive years. The condition disrupts the average hormonal balance, causing an increase in androgens, or male hormones, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and the formation of tiny cysts on the ovaries. In addition, PCOS is often associated with insulin resistance, making managing blood sugar levels a crucial aspect of its treatment.Effects of PCOSPCOS manifests in a myriad of ways, affecting not only reproductive health but also overall well-being. The most common symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, ovulatory dysfunction, infertility, weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth. Moreover, PCOS increases the risk of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer. Addressing these symptoms and potential complications is essential for a holistic approach to PCOS management.Methods to Manage PCOS1. Diet ChangesA well-balanced and nutritious diet is fundamental in managing PCOS. Consider adopting an approach that emphasizes whole foods, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates while minimizing processed foods and added sugars. Many individuals with PCOS benefit from low-carbohydrate or low-glycemic index diets to help stabilize blood sugar levels and manage insulin resistance. Consulting with a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance to meet individual needs.2. SupplementsSupplements play a supportive role in addressing specific deficiencies and imbalances associated with PCOS. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation associated with PCOS. Inositol, a type of B vitamin, has been shown to support ovarian function and improve insulin sensitivity. Vitamin D supplementation is commonly recommended, as many individuals with PCOS are deficient in this essential nutrient. However, it's crucial to consult a healthcare professional to determine appropriate dosages and monitor for potential interactions with other medications.3. HerbsHerbal remedies can offer a natural approach to managing PCOS symptoms. Spearmint tea has shown promise in reducing elevated androgen levels, while chasteberry (vitex) may help regulate menstrual cycles. Cinnamon has been studied for its potential insulin-sensitizing effects. Integrating these herbs into a treatment plan should be done under the guidance of a healthcare provider, considering individual health conditions and possible interactions with medications.Learn More: 15 Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices for Powerful Healing4. ProbioticsMaintaining a healthy gut microbiome through probiotics can positively impact insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation associated with PCOS. Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, kefir, fermented vegetables, or high-quality supplements can support gut health. Including these in your diet may contribute to a well-rounded approach to managing PCOS.5. Healthy WeightAchieving and maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for individuals with PCOS, as excess weight can exacerbate insulin resistance and hormonal imbalances. Combining a balanced diet and regular exercise is critical for sustainable weight management. Working with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance on nutrition and exercise plans tailored to individual needs.6. Regular ExerciseExercise is a cornerstone of PCOS management, offering a multitude of benefits. Regular physical activity helps with weight management, improves insulin sensitivity, and reduces stress levels. Both aerobic exercises (such as walking, jogging, or cycling) and strength training contribute to overall well-being. Finding enjoyable activities can increase adherence to an exercise routine.Check This Out : Workout At Home - Alternative Yoga Exercises 7. Sleep HygieneQuality sleep is essential for hormonal balance, and poor sleep can negatively impact insulin sensitivity and exacerbate PCOS symptoms. Establishing a consistent sleep routine, creating a dark and comfortable sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime contribute to better sleep hygiene.8. Stress ManagementChronic stress can significantly worsen PCOS symptoms. Incorporating stress-reducing practices such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into daily life can mitigate the impact of stress on hormonal balance. Finding activities that bring joy and relaxation is crucial for overall well-being.9. Endocrine DisruptorsMinimizing exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in plastics, pesticides, and personal care products is vital. Choosing natural and eco-friendly alternatives whenever possible helps reduce the burden of these disruptors on hormonal balance.10. AcupunctureAcupuncture is an ancient practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Some individuals with PCOS report benefits such as regulated menstrual cycles and reduced stress levels. However, this method should be explored under the guidance of a qualified acupuncturist, and its effectiveness can vary among individuals.When to Visit the DoctorWhile natural methods can be beneficial, it's essential to recognize when professional medical advice is necessary. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, difficulty managing your condition, or contemplating significant lifestyle changes, consult a healthcare professional. Regular check-ups are crucial for monitoring overall health and addressing any potential complications associated with PCOS.Also Read: Natural Remedies For Polycystic Ovary Or PCOSConclusionEffectively managing PCOS through natural treatment options requires a holistic and personalized approach. Dietary changes, supplements, herbs, probiotics, weight management, exercise, sleep hygiene, stress management, avoiding endocrine disruptors, and even acupuncture collectively contribute to a sturdy plan. While these methods can benefit many individuals, consulting with healthcare professionals is crucial to ensure safety and effectiveness. Individuals can significantly improve their quality of life and overall well-being by taking control of lifestyle factors and addressing the root causes of PCOS.FAQsHow do we treat PCOS naturally?Natural treatment for PCOS involves a lifestyle approach, including dietary changes, supplements, exercise, stress management, and other holistic interventions.What are some natural ways to cure PCOS?While PCOS cannot be cured in the traditional sense, its symptoms can be effectively managed through lifestyle modifications and natural interventions.Are there any side effects to these methods?Side effects are generally minimal compared to pharmaceutical interventions, but individual responses may vary. Monitoring your body's reactions and consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial.How do you get rid of PCOS belly?Targeting abdominal fat through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction can help manage PCOS-related weight gain and reduce belly fat.What vitamin deficiency is associated with PCOS?Vitamin D deficiency is commonly associated with PCOS. Adequate sunlight exposure and supplementation can help maintain optimal vitamin D levels.How can I lose PCOS weight fast?Rapid weight loss is not recommended, as it may be unsustainable and unhealthy. Gradual, sustainable weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise is more effective and lasting.What clears PCOS?PCOS cannot be entirely cleared, but its symptoms can be effectively managed through lifestyle changes and natural interventions.