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Lincoln – On International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31, and during Nebraska Drug Overdose Awareness week, August 28 to September 3, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services aim is to provide education about drug overdoses, connect those who need support and treatment to help, and provide support to those who have lost a loved one to overdose.
While Nebraska's drug overdose rate remains near the bottom of the national list (in 2020, there were 101 overdose deaths, with females making up 37 percent and males making up 61 percent of that count) the impact they have on the state is significant, and the help of Nebraskans to further lower overdose rates is necessary. In recent years, synthetic opioids like fentanyl have been mixed into other drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, causing overdose cases to rise. According to lab testing for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) four out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a potentially lethal dose.
On Wednesday, August 31st, the State Capitol will be lit up in purple in honor and remembrance of those who have died as a result of a drug overdose, to show support for people who have lost a loved one to overdose, and to send a strong message to individuals struggling with substance use that recovery is possible and Nebraskans care. The Division of Behavioral Health invites individuals, organizations, families, treatment facilities, and individuals to remember loved ones, their friends and family and talk in your community about ways to prevent overdose.
“Prevention, treatment, and recovery services all play a part in helping those with substance use disorder live their best lives," said Sheri Dawson, director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “We continue to advocate for treatments, as well as recovery-ready workplaces and peer support by those with lived experience."
One of the messages of this day is that the people who overdose are our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, neighbors – they are loved and they are missed. No one should ever have to go through the pain of losing a loved one. By lighting up the State Capitol, our homes, our place of business, and our personal attire in purple, the people of Nebraska are decreasing the stigma around behavioral health through understanding, compassion, and support.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can be administered via nasal spray to quickly and temporarily reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the effects of the opioid overdose and restoring normal breathing. Since the effects of naloxone are temporary and typically last 30 to 60 minutes, it is important to call 911 for the person immediately after administration. Naloxone is available at most pharmacies. To learn more about naloxone and receive naloxone at no cost, please visit stopodne.com.
Call 911 immediately if a person exhibits any of the following symptoms:
Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to: