Partnership for Drug-Free Communities

Prevention & Education

substance Use

Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms that may change in a loved one who has started using or abusing a substance. Changes in personality, physical appearance, and social life may occur. House hold items may begin disappearing, or your loved one may begin carrying items that you’ve never seem them with before. See our list below to help determine if it is time to start a conversation or seek help for your loved one.

Personality

Physical

Missing Household Items

Social Life

Personal Items

Prevention & Education

Naloxone (Narcan®) Training & Distribution

Naloxone (NARCAN®) is a safe and effective medicine used to aid a person in the event of a suspected or known opioid overdose. It can temporarily reverse the effects of opioids until emergency medical care can arrive. Naloxone can be purchased at local pharmacies without a prescription. Insurance may cover all or most of the cost.

 

The agencies listed below are providing naloxone free of charge (based on available supplies; not available to EMS services). Each agency will provide training on the use of the product.
contact information

Agencies

Find an agency near you below.
Chestnut Health Systems

618-512-1781

SR-Narcan@Chestnut.org

Serving:

Madison County

St. Clair County

Bond County

Calhoun County

Effingham County

Greene County

Jersey County

Macoupin County

McLean County

Montgomery County

Shelby County

Egyptian Health Department
KUnthank@Egyptian.org | 618-297-9380 ext. 200 AHampton@Egyptian.org | 618-273-3326 ext. 2119 MHalton@Egyptian.org | 618-313-0916 CDennis@Egyptian.org | 618-297-9380

Serving:

Clinton County

Monroe County

Randolph County

Washington County

Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery

844-Rebel Up (844-732-3587)

www.monetwork.org

Prevent + Ed

314-962-3456

prevented.org

St. Louis Empowerment Center

314-652-6100

Serving:

Missouri

Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances

Opioids

What are opioids?

Opioids are a sedative narcotic that reduce the perception of pain. When used, they bind to receptors throughout the body and release dopamine. They can cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, euphoria, mental confusion, nausea and constipation. For some people, the pleasure experienced when taking an opioid leads to a craving to repeat use. Opioids include, but are not limited to, the following prescription and street drugs:

 

  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Hydromorphone
  • Codeine
  • Tramadol
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
  • Meperidine (Demerol®)

 

Some people use prescription opioids by taking the medicine in a way other than prescribed. When misusing a prescription opioid, a person may swallow the medicine in a pill form, or crush pills or open capsules to inhale the powder. The powder can also be dissolved in water and injected into a vein.

Who is at risk for an opioid overdose?

Anyone who takes an opioid can be at risk of an overdose. The risk increases when:

 

  • A person takes more opioid pain medication than prescribed
  • Someone is taking an opioid prescribed for another person
  • An opioid user is taking opioids to get high
  • Someone is using illegally purchased opioids
  • An opioid user is inhaling or injecting an opioid
  • An individual combines opioids with alcohol or other depressant medications
  • A person with an opioid use disorder has abstained from use then starts again
  • Someone has certain medical conditions

 

Benzodiazepines are involved in more than 30% of opioid overdoses. Sometimes called benzos or bennies, these sedative drugs are commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia.

The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but can lead to brain changes that challenge a person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. Opioid use disorder, a term used to describe people who have an opioid substance use problem, is a brain disease.

NARCAN®

What is naloxone (NARCAN®)?

Naloxone is a safe medication used to quickly reverse an opioid overdose. It comes in three FDA approved forms: injectable, auto-injectable, and nasal spray known as NARCAN®. Naloxone is not additive, and a tolerance is not developed from repeated use. Allergic reactions to naloxone are extremely rare. Naloxone was first approved for use in the United State in 1971. NARCAN® Nasal Spray, came on the market in 2015.

 

Naloxone is safe for use on any person, including women who are pregnant and children. It only helps reverse opioid overdoses, but will not hurt a person who has taken other drugs or is having a medical emergency not related to opioid use. Due to a variety of factors, more than one dose may be needed. For this reason, it is critical that EMS services be requested by dialing 911.

When is naloxone needed?

Opioids affect the part of the brain that regulates breathing. When taken in high doses, an opioid can cause a person to stop breathing. Anyone experiencing slowed or stopped breathing due to opioid use should be administered naloxone as soon as possible. Other signs of overdose include:

 

  • No response when spoken to or shaken gently
  • Small, pinpoint pupils
  • Shallow breathing or gurgling sounds

 

People who are given naloxone should be observed constantly until emergency care arrives, and for at least 2 hours by medical personnel after the last dose of naloxone to make sure breathing does not slow or stop.

Who should have naloxone available?

If you, a family member, or a friend is using opioids, you should carry naloxone as a first aid tool. Consider having naloxone available if:


A family member or friend is taking high doses of opioids as prescribed for pain management
Someone you know is using opioids and depressants like alcohol or certain anxiety medications
A person has a history of opioid use disorder
An individual is completing opioid detoxification or being discharged from a medical or treatment facility
Someone is being released from incarceration and has a history of opioid use disorder
You are a community member who comes into contact with people at risk of an opioid overdose
Your organization or place of business may encounter people using opioids

How do I store naloxone and does it have an expiration date?

Naloxone is sensitive to light and extreme temperatures.  Avoid storing it where temperatures drop below 32° F or exceed 104° F.  If this occurs, or the product expires, it can still be used.  It will not become toxic though it may be less effective.  Like any medication, naloxone should be stored in a safe place away from children and pets.

Good Samaritan Law

What is the Good Samaritan Law?

In Illinois, the Good Samaritan Law allows anyone to purchase, carry and use naloxone, and it encourages calls to 911 in case of an overdose by eliminating prosecution in some situations.  Also, anyone can walk into a pharmacy and purchase naloxone, the cost may be at least $150 without insurance.  If a person has insurance they can ask the pharmacist to run a prescription and only pay a co-pay; most pharmacies are providing this service.

The law states:

Amends the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. Provides that a person who, in good faith, seeks or obtains emergency medical assistance for someone experiencing an overdose shall not be charged or prosecuted for Class 4 felony possession of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike substance, a controlled substance analog, or Class 3 felony methamphetamine if evidence for the possession charge was acquired as a result of the person seeking or obtaining emergency medical assistance. Provides that a person who is experiencing an overdose shall not be charged or prosecuted for Class 4 felony possession of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike substance, or a controlled substance analog, or in the case of methamphetamine Class 3 felony possession if evidence for the possession charge was acquired as a result of the person seeking or obtaining emergency medical assistance. Provides that the action of seeking or obtaining emergency medical assistance for an overdose may be used as a mitigating factor in a criminal prosecution for Class 3 felony or higher possession, manufacture or delivery of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike substance or a controlled substance analog, or in the case of methamphetamine Class 2 felony or higher possession, manufacture or delivery of methamphetamine. Effective immediately.

So what does that mean?

When calling 911 or taking someone to an emergency room for an overdose, you and the person overdosing cannot be charged with possession for small amounts of illegal drugs (3g or less of heroin or cocaine, or 1 gram or less of methamphetamine).

How do I help if I think someone is overdosing on an opioid?

If you suspect someone is overdosing, check the scene for your safety.  Look for drugs, needles, body fluids, and anything else that could make the scene unsafe.  Use universal precautions by wearing gloves and using a breathing barrier.

Step 1— Determine if the person is unconscious by doing a sternal rub for 10 seconds by rubbing your knuckles on the breast bone and talking to the person.  If there is no response check for breathing and pulse.  Look for:

  • Small, pin-point pupils 
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Blue lips or nails
  • Inability to speak
  • Faint or no heartbeat

 

Step 2— Call 911 immediately.  Opioid overdose is a very dangerous condition that can result in permanent physical and mental damage or even death if medical treatment is not administered right away.  

 

Step 3— Check for breathing and pulse.  Provide rescue breathes, chest compressions or other necessary first aid.

 

Step 4— Administer the NARCAN® by placing the NARCAN® in one nostril and pushing the NARCAN®’s plunger.  Do not prime or test the spray.  It is best to position the person on their back, but it is not necessary.  Expect some of the spray to flow from the nostril.  The 4 mg dose assures that a sufficient amount of the drug will be absorbed through the person’s mucus membranes.  Note: If another form is naloxone is used, follow the directions given.

Step 5— If a person is unconscious, but is breathing, they should be placed in the recovery position.  This will keep their airway clear and open, and ensures that any vomit or fluids won’t cause them to choke.

Step 6— If the person does not begin breathing on their own, a second dose of NARCAN® can be administered in the other nostril 2-3 minutes after the first dose.

Afterwards stay with the person and provide comfort.  Watch for combative behavior when the person is revived.  Opioids stay in the body longer than the naloxone, so be prepared for another overdose.  The NARCAN® container can be disposed of in the trash. Naloxone may cause withdrawal symptoms which may be uncomfortable, but are not life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms may include headache, changes in blood pressure, rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and tremors.

How can I help someone after an opioid overdose?

  • Talk with your doctor about the safe use of prescription pain killers and alternative ways to manage pain
  • Store medicine safely where others cannot easily access them
    • Monitor the amount of medication you have stored
    • Use a medicine lockbox, or store in a locked cabinet or closet
  • Dispose of unused or expired medicine promptly
    • Use a local medication drop box at a law enforcement office or pharmacy
    • Watch for the DEA Drug Take Back Day held in April and October; to check for locations go to www.takebackday/dea.gov
    • Mix the medication with coffee grounds or other garbage and dispose of it in the trash
    • Never flush medications down the toilet
  • If you take an opioid, teach your family and friends how to respond to an overdose
  • Do not mix opioids with alcohol or other drugs
  • Do not use opioids when there is no one available to help in the event of an overdose
  • Abstain from illegal drug use
  • Have naloxone available
  • Seek treatment services

 

Make sure the young people in your life understand the risks associated with the underage use of alcohol, tobacco or vaping products, marijuana, and other drugs.  Help them avoid misuse of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Young people are more likely to experiment with alcohol and other drugs if they have experienced a traumatic event like loss, abuse, illness or neglect.  Other risk factors for use include social stigma and discrimination.


Having naloxone available to help in case of an opioid overdose emergency will help save lives.  Every person deserves a chance to get into treatment and recovery because Recovery is Possible.

Social Host Law

Did you know the State of Illinois has a “Social Host Law”?

In Illinois, the Social Host Law, which went into effect January 1, 2013, holds adults accountable for underage drinking that occurs in the home. There are several parts to this law.

The law states:

If you allow or host a party at your house and provide alcohol to people under age 21 (or if you know or should have known that they are drinking alcohol), you are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. This will result in a fine.  Note that you are held responsible regardless if you are the one who provides the alcohol AND regardless if you are home or not.

If a minor who was drinking at your house injures or kills someone, you are guilty of a Class 4 felony. This could result in both a fine and/or jail time.

You will not be guilty of violating the law if you request help from the police to help remove the underage drinkers and stop the gathering. This only holds if you make the first one to call—not if the police show up after a complaint from a neighbor and then you ask for help.

In addition, depending on local community ordinances, you may also be held responsible for the costs of emergency services/law enforcement that respond to a call, attorney fees and other costs associated. 

So what can you do?

As responsible parents you need to be a positive role model and prevent youth access to alcohol in your home. Your kids need to know where you stand on underage drinking through ongoing conversations about consequences. Give them the tools they need to make good decisions about drinking in the many different scenarios they may encounter—at a friend’s house, at a party, after school.

Recovery is possible.