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Opioid Crisis

Opioid Crisis - Help Is Available

Opioids - What They Are

Opioids – What they are

Opioid Crisis

Opioids are a group of drugs that include prescription pain killers and heroin. They are either derived from, or chemically similar to, compounds found in opium poppies. Some opioids, like heroin, are illegal. But some are prescribed legally by doctors to treat pain. Opioids include legal prescription pain killers like oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and others. Heroin, which is illegal, is also an opioid. Some slang terms for prescription opioids are OCs, Oxy, perks, and vics. Slang terms for heroin include smack, junk, black tar, and horse.

How do they work?

These drugs are similar to other chemicals in our bodies that attach to opioid receptors which are found in our brains. Opioid drugs bond to these receptors throughout the nervous system, and this process can have three main effects:

  • It decreases feelings of pain
  • It creates feelings of pleasure and relaxation
  • It slows automatic processes in our body like breathing

Naloxone (Narcan) – A life-saving antidote

Naloxone is a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose in minutes. Naloxone must be introduced to the body relatively quickly, as death from an overdose may occur within one to three hours of opioid ingestion. It’s only meant to be a first line of defense during an overdose, because its antidote effect will wear off in 20–90 minutes. So naloxone really just buys time for the victim until they can be treated more thoroughly by licensed medical professionals. It may even need to be administered a second time if the victim stops breathing again.

CT Good Samaritan Law

The Good Samaritan Law (CGS § 52-557b) provides immunity from civil damages for acts of ordinary negligence in connection with the rendering of emergency medical service by specified individuals under certain circumstances. The immunity does not apply to gross, willful, or wanton negligence.