Know Your Risk: Addiction Wasn’t in the Prescription. In 2017, 35 people in our county went to the emergency department for an opioid overdose. In the same year, 10 Wilson County residents died of an unintentional opioid overdose death. In our county, over 4 million opioid pills were dispensed in one year alone. In our 2019 Community Health Assessment, many of you indicated that you thought substance misuse was a top issue affecting quality of life in Wilson County. So let’s do something about it! Prescription opioids play a large role in the opioid epidemic occurring right now in the United States. Prescription opioids can be addictive and dangerous, if used improperly. This is why it is so important to follow your doctor’s instructions when using medication. A person’s tolerance may increase with repeated use of prescription opioids, which is common in jobs with high rates of injury or illness. Increased tolerance may lead to addiction and cause some people to use recreational drugs as a substitute despite the dangerous risk. Did you know that 67% of people who misuse prescription drugs say they get them from family or friends? Therefore, it is important to properly store and dispose of your medication. Please do not share any of your prescription medication with anyone and properly store them using either a locked medicine cabinet or a lockbox. For more information on proper storage of medication or a free lockbox, please contact Community Impact NC at www.ImpactCarolinaNC.org or at 252-237-1242 There are multiple ways to properly dispose of unwanted unused, or expired prescription opioids. Disposal locations include the Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office, CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, and Wilson Value Drugstore. In the event of an opioid overdose, look for these signs and symptoms: small pinpoint pupils, slow or shallow breathing, blue lips and fingernails, snoring, gasping, or gurgling, and if they’re unresponsive. If an overdose is identified, please call 911. The 911 Good Samaritan Law in North Carolina protects individuals from being arrested or charged for drug related medical emergency. Naloxone is a medication that reverses opioid overdoses and is used by Wilson Police, the Sheriff’s Office, and EMS during emergencies. If you feel you are a family member at risk of an overdose, most pharmacies and the Wilson County Health Department have naloxone nasal spray kits available. To naloxone, place your thumb on the plunger, and your first two middle fingers on the size of the nozzle. Tilt the individuals head back and support their neck. Press the nozzle into one nostril until your fingers are pressed against the nose. Press the plunger firmly into the nostril and remove. Then seek emergency help. Addiction may not be written in a prescription, but we know opioids can be very risky. For more information, please feel free to look at resources such as the Hope Alliance which helps individuals reach recovery resources, RC3 which offers programming to support a person’s recovery, LockYourMeds.org has information about storing your medication, The Wilson County Health Department has educators to connect you with resources, and, lastly, your pharmacist can answer any other questions that you may have. Remember that we are here for you. We are here for you.