Opioids & Other Drugs
Whether it's a pain med, an ADHD drug, or a street drug, there are risks from taking the drug, mixing it with alcohol or other drugs, or borrowing or buying from a friend or dealer.
Get your medications from a trusted local pharmacy. Keep your meds locked up & dispose of unused drugs safely.
Drugs & Their Dangers
Opioids (prescription pain meds)
Prescription opioids are provided for pain. They include drugs like Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percoset, Codeine, Morphine.
Opioids are powerful. People can become physically addicted within just a few days. When you get an opioid prescription, use as little as possible to avoid becoming dependent. Safely dispose of any leftovers to avoid anyone else accessing them.
Opioid addiction often leads to heroin addiction. Withdrawal is very tough. People who become addicted often need long-term Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to quit. Learn more at CT's LiveLOUD site.
Opioid overdose can be fatal but can be reversed with Naloxone (Narcan). Contact us or The Hub to get a Narcan kit and be trained to use it -- you may save a life!
For detox, contact CT's 24/7 Substance Use Access Line: 800-563-4086.
Heroin & fentanyl (illegal opioids)
Heroin is a very powerful and addictive illegal opioid. Treatment usually requires long-term Medication-Assisted Treatment.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is many times stronger than heroin. (It is used in hospitals for surgery.) The amount of fentanyl on the streets has been increasing. Heroin and other drugs (including marijuana) are now often laced with fentanyl to produce a more extreme high. As a result some people are overdosing without even knowing they took fentanyl.
An even stronger opioid that is being cut into other drugs is carfentanil--which was developed to tranquilize large wild animals (think elephants!). It is strong enough to kill a person with only a tiny speck.
If given in time, Naloxone (Narcan) can revive someone who has overdosed on an opioid. However, fentanyl is so strong that even 3+ doses of Narcan may not be enough.
In Norwalk, contact the Drug User Outreach for syringe exchange, harm reduction and referrals for help: Call Erma 203-855-9535 ext. 107.
For detox, contact CT's Substance Use Access Line at 800-563-4086.
Learn more: liveLOUD.org
Benzos (prescription sedatives)
Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia. The best known are Xanax, Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin.
Benzos are overprescribed and in very common use. In 2016, almost 13% of Americans had a prescription for a benzo. Between 2016-2018, 27% of all doctor visits resulted in the patient being given a prescription for a benzo--with 1/3 also given a prescription for an opioid even though the combination can be fatal!
Benzos are intended for short-term use but many people use them for longer than prescribed. This can create addiction and other long-term problems. For example, they have been associated with Alzheimer's.
Withdrawal from benzos usually involves a medical detox program and can be months long.
Sometimes young adults or other drug users take Xanax ("zannies," "z-bar") to increase the effect of alcohol. However, the interaction of benzos with alcohol or with other drugs can be fatal. Contact us to show the 35 minute documentary "If They Had Known" to your class or group.
In 2016-2018 in Southwestern CT, the majority of people who died from drug overdose had mixed a benzo with alcohol and/or an opioid. Nationally, 16% of opioid deaths occurred when a benzo was used at the same time.
Stimulants are prescription drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, and Concerta, usually prescribed to treat ADHD.
Sometimes high school or college-aged students buy or borrow a friend's ADHD drugs to use as "study aids." However, without a doctor's prescription, the user is at high risk because the amount may be too strong and can drastically affect breathing and heartrate, or could cause an allergic reaction or interact with another drug.
Stimulants (like other prescription drugs) should never be shared. Be sure to keep your medications locked up so others cannot access them.
Learn more at drugfree.org
Check out ADHD Nation by Alan Schwartz, nominated for the Pulitzer
A scary new trend is counterfeit drugs, which are synthetic drugs made to look like common prescription drugs--or even over-the-counter drugs--but that are often pure fentanyl.
These fakes are often almost impossible to detect--but they are leading to overdoses and deaths. (See Dr. Laura Berman's story.)
What can you do about it? ONLY take drugs that were prescribed to you specifically--and only take drugs that you bought at a local pharmacy. Do not borrow or buy from anyone else.
Hallucinogens (e.g., mushrooms), MDMA (aka Ecstasy or Molly), Meth, Cocaine, Kratom, K2/Spice... there are many other types of drugs out there, though very few Norwalkers are using these. Get more info at https://drugfree.org/drugs/