Learn how you can support someone struggling with opioid misuse, substance use disorders or an opioid addiction.
Help prevent drug and alcohol abuse by talking with your child or teen. The Parent Talk Toolkit helps parents, family, friends, and other role models in having discussions with children and teens by providing examples of talking points and teachable moments. Developed by the Medicine Abuse Project and the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
Safe storage of opioids
Store opioids out of the reach of children, teens, friends, and visitors. Do not keep medications in places that are easy to get to, such as bathrooms and kitchens. If possible, lock your medications and try to keep count of how many pills you have.
Visit Up and Away and Out of Sight to learn more about how to keep your child safe by putting your medicines up, away, and out of sight.
Safe disposal of opioids
Dispose of any unused opioids through local drop boxes at your Police Department or Sheriff’s Office or at some pharmacies. A National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is also held each fall and spring at locations around Idaho.
If you do not have a local drop box, follow these FDA guidelines on disposing unused or expired medications.
What to do in an overdose situation
Call 911 right away if you suspect an overdose.
Check your Opioid Overdose Resuscitation Card.
Common signs of an opioid overdose include:
- Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils"
- Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Choking sounds or snore-like gurgling sounds
- Limp body
- Pale, blue, or cold skin
It is rare for someone to die immediately from an overdose. When people survive, it’s because someone was there to respond. The most important thing is to act right away!
It may be hard to tell if a person is high or experiencing an overdose. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to treat it like an overdose – you could save a life.
- Try to wake the person up.
- Call 911 immediately.
- Give naloxone, if available.
- Check pulse and breathing.
- Begin rescue breathing or follow dispatcher instructions.
- Repeat naloxone, if needed.
- Lay the person on their side to prevent choking.
- Stay with them until emergency services arrive.
Recognizing and responding to an opioid overdose
Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and prevent death. There are three FDA-approved formulations of naloxone:
- Injectable – Use of this product requires the user to be trained on proper assembly and administration.
- Autoinjectable – EVZIO® is a prefilled auto-injection device that makes it easy for families or emergency personnel to inject naloxone quickly into the outer thigh.
- Prepackaged Nasal Spray – NARCAN® Nasal Spray is a prefilled, needle-free device that requires no assembly and is sprayed into one nostril while patients lay on their back.
To increase naloxone access, DHW aims to distribute free naloxone kits to organizations in Idaho interacting with individuals at risk of an opioid-related overdose. These organizations may include:
- First Responders: Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment Providers, Recovery and Crisis Centers
- Criminal Justice agencies
- Emergency Departments
- Public Health Districts
- Safer Syringe Programs
Organizations may administer naloxone to any individual who is experiencing respiratory suppression characteristic of an opioid-related overdose. Organizations may also distribute naloxone to individuals who are at risk of an opioid-related overdose, as well as their friends and family. Naloxone is safe to carry on person and has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system.
DHW encourages opioid overdose recognition and response training for individuals in a position to administer naloxone.
Please note that free naloxone kits are contingent upon continued federal and state funding and available supply. Organizations that receive naloxone through this program will be asked to submit brief monthly reports of naloxone distribution, administration, and outcomes.
Organizations may request free naloxone by submitting a Naloxone Request Form.
As of 2019, Idahoans may access naloxone at a pharmacy without a prescription. Please call ahead to your local pharmacy to ensure availability of naloxone and to ask about your co-pay. If you have Medicaid, naloxone is free from the pharmacy. Community-based organizations such as safer syringe programs, substance use disorder treatment, recovery and crisis centers near you may also offer naloxone free to individuals in need, regardless of your insurance status. Find naloxone near you.
- Reach out if you think someone you know has a problem. Talk to family members, friends, or a health care provider.
- Be supportive, not judgmental, if a loved one has a problem. Recognize that a substance use disorder is not a moral failing, but a medical disease.
- Help them find treatment or recovery services.
- Find a family support group. For Nar-Anon support groups call 1-800-477-6291 or visit nar-anon.org. For Al-Anon support groups visit aa.org.
- Show support towards people in recovery.
- Help reduce stigma. Stigma is a mark of disgrace on a person's reputation and can lead to stereotyping and discrimination. For people with substance use disorders, stigma can mean they are less likely to seek help and more likely to drop out of treatment. One way you can help reduce stigma is by using person-centered language, such as replacing "addict" or "user" with "person with a substance use disorder.