Substance use impacts people and families from every part of our community. On International Overdose Awareness Day, it is important to recognize the proactive steps we can take to prevent overdose deaths. By putting interventions in place, our community can ensure help is available when it is needed most.
According to the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment, the Springfield Community — comprised of Greene, Christian and Webster counties — is 25% more likely to die of drug overdose than people in the rest of the United States.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of an overdose is the first step in preventing overdose deaths. If the broader community can learn these signs, we can make important progress.
A person experiencing an overdose may:
- Get extremely pale and/or feel clammy to the touch
- Go limp in their body
- Have a purple or blue color to their nails or skin
- Start vomiting or make gurgling noises
- Be unable to wake up or unable to speak
- Have breathing or heartbeat that slows or stops completely
If you witness an overdose, you should always call 911 and begin CPR if you are able.
Naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) is another crucial overdose death prevention tool. Naloxone is a medication that can rapidly reverse opioid overdoses. When administered to a person who has lost consciousness or stopped breathing, Naloxone can help restore normal breathing function. This adds an important window of time for professional medical help to arrive. If members of the community carry naloxone, we can act swiftly and decisively in the event of an overdose.
Creating an environment where people feel comfortable seeking help is another step in preventing overdose deaths. As a community, we can build relationships and encourage people with substance use disorders to come forward and access the support they need.
Springfield-Greene County Health recently developed Revive — an overdose prevention app. It connects people who use substances, their loved ones and people in the community who might encounter someone experiencing an overdose with resources and lifesaving guidance. The goal is to prevent an overdose from becoming an overdose death. Revive is available as a mobile app and a web-based platform.
When you download Revive, you can access interactive maps to find locations that distribute naloxone for free or low-cost. Other maps show where you can access substance use treatment resources and places you can safely dispose of drugs. The app also includes guidance on recognizing the signs and symptoms of an overdose and an overview of Missouri’s Good Samaritan law. The Good Samaritan law is in place to protect someone who calls 9–1–1 from being charged with drug possession and minor violations.
Anyone in our community can use Revive. The mobile app is available for free on both Apple and Android devices. To download Revive or access the web version, go to ReviveSGF.org.
Any step we take to be prepared to respond to an overdose situation is a step toward making our community a heathier and happier place to live. On this International Overdose Awareness Day, let’s take these next steps together.
For more information on naloxone or hosting an overdose prevention training, contact Springfield-Greene County Health by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.