Opioids are a highly addictive class of drugs, primarily used for pain relief. This type of drug works by blocking pain signals between the brain and the body. These include prescription drugs like oxycodone and illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl. People commonly develop opioid dependency and addiction after being prescribed opioids. According to Mayo Clinic, just five days of using opioids can lead to dependency and increase the chance of long-term use so it is important to take the medication as prescribed by your doctor and practice safe medication storage.
Today, overdose deaths have surpassed traffic fatalities in the United States. In 2018 in Tennessee alone, there were 24,961 overdoses, 1,304 of which were the result of opioids. We need your help to fight this crisis. If your family has a history of addiction, ask about non-opioid alternatives. If you have medications that could put someone in your home at risk, Be Aware Blount can provide a lockbox to keep them safely stored. And if you’re actively using and would like to stop, reach out or look at our resources page to find a program that will work for you. This is a community effort and we will do whatever we can to help.
Tobacco is a crop grown to be made into tobacco products. Common forms of these products include cigarettes, cigars, and dip (chewing tobacco). Tobacco consists of nicotine, an addictive substance, as well as many other harmful chemicals that can lead to heart disease, cancer, and many other adverse health effects. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of death in the world. The World Health Organization reported that tobacco kills around half of it’s users and around 8 million people die annually due to tobacco. It is important to note that second-hand smoke is just as harmful as those using tobacco products first-hand.
There is a financial component to tobaccos use as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking can cost you around $188 per month or even more depending on where you live. Quitting tobacco is not an easy task, but it is a beneficial one that will improve both your health and the health of those around you. Check out our resources page to look for a program that could help you stop.
Alcohol is a liquid that works as a psychoactive drug as well as a depressant of the central nervous system. Alcohol includes beer, wine, and liquor such as vodka and rum. Alcohol Use Disorder might include symptoms such as craving alcohol, drinking without limits, withdrawing from normal activities, and wanting to cut down on alcohol consumption but being unable to. Alcohol can cause many short- and long-term health consequences as well as play a role in societal issues such as driving under the influence. Short-term consequences can include impaired judgement, impaired coordination, and slurred speech. Long-term effects can include anxiety, sleep dysregulation, and seizures.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Alcohol Use Disorder affects approximately 14.4 million adults in the U.S. and 401,000 adolescents between 12-17. This can be prevented by strong messaging to youth about the dangers of alcohol and knowing your family history and taking the appropriate precautions. If you’re struggling with quitting, reach out or look at our resources page for program options.
Vaping is the most recent public health crisis and a cause for concern. More specifically, it is inhaling the vapor from an e-cigarette. Nicotine contents are generally higher in e-cigarettes making them more addictive. While the exact long term implications are still unknown, the dangers of vaping are evident. Additionally, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.
As of January 21, 2020, there have been 60 vape-related deaths. This crisis is particularly concerning because it is affecting our youth. The devices were marketed toward youth and in 2015, the U.S. Surgeon General announced a 900% increase in high-school students using e-cigarettes according to Johns Hopkins. If you are a parent, have frequent and casual conversations with your child about the dangers of vaping and encourage them to do the same with their peers.