Posted on: Sunday, August 18th, 2019
International Overdose Awareness Day is on August 31st, and in context to that, along with a national opioid crisis arising, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction, and what you can do for yourself and others to help.
In any addiction, it is critical to understand the difference between tolerance, dependence, and addiction, which you can read more about by clicking here. These three states serve as a domino effect from one to the other, causing addiction. In the case of opioids, users may build up a tolerance for the drug by physically adapting to the frequent exposure to the drug, leading them to increase their dosage to receive the desired effect. Dependence is the next step towards addiction as the user is now dependent on taking the drug in order to avoid unpleasant withdrawal effects. Lastly, addiction is characterized by compulsive behaviours to do with seeking and doing the drug, despite the consequences.
It is important to remember that not every person is the same, especially when an individual has developed a learned tolerance: where they are able to mask the signs of tolerance, dependence, or addiction, better than others. Just like no person is the same, no treatment is the same, and it’s important to know when and how you can intervene so you or a loved one can receive the care they need. Specific signs of different drug addiction and abuse behaviours can be found on this website. And for more general information on addiction, and how you can help a loved one, click here.
Lastly, in the wake of the opioid crisis, consider purchasing a Naloxone kit from your local pharmacy or urgent care centre. Learn more about what Naloxone is, and where you can purchase it here.