Having Family Member with Opioid Prescription Increases Risk of Overdose

Medications on the Shelves of a Medicine Cabinet

Having a family member with an opioid prescription increases a person’s risk of ending up in the emergency room with a drug overdose almost threefold, a new study suggests.

Researchers at Harvard analyzed overdoses that led to an emergency room visit or hospitalization, and looked at whether the patient’s family members had been prescribed opioids, Vox reports. They found the more opioids a family member was prescribed, the higher the risk of an overdose.

The study does not prove a cause-and-effect connection between having a family member with an opioid prescription and an increased risk of a drug overdose, the article notes. The researchers conclude that overdoses among family members of people with opioid prescriptions may be reduced by expanding access to opioid overdose medications, locking up prescription opioids, and providing greater patient education.

How to Use Naloxone to Reverse Opioid Overdose and Save Lives

A variety of drugs and drug combinations carry the risk of fatal overdose. Emergency protocol for any suspected overdose includes calling 911. However, in the case of opioids, which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, naloxone (also known by the brand name Narcan) can reverse an overdose, potentially saving a loved one’s life.

Naloxone- International Overdose Awareness Day 2017
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    July 11, 2019 at 2:45 PM

    my sons doctor hands him opioids like they are candy. My son is 42 and I have spoken to him doctor but he still hands out the meds. Where can I get help to stop this ?

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      Josie Feliz

      July 15, 2019 at 10:25 AM

      Thanks for your message Mary. We have forwarded your message to one of our helpline specialists who can help better answer your question, and she will be reaching out to you shortly. Our Helpline is a good place to start if you’d like to talk to someone about what you’re going through. Feel free to connect with us in whichever manner you choose in the future: https://drugfree.org/helpline
      Thank you. -The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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