Brain Injury Alliance Issues Quarantine, Opioid Dependency, & Reduced Tolerance Alert
Please read, share, and help us reduce overdose-related brain injuries.
If you or someone you love misuses opioids or illicit drugs, you may already know the current national health crisis is affecting the drug market, along with everything else. To the loved ones of a drug user, this initially may seem like a relief. However, being forced to go cold turkey can be painful and even deadly to someone with a substance dependency.
Opioid withdrawal in particular can include severe symptoms such as:
- restlessness and anxiety
- muscular and abdominal pain
- nausea, diarrhea and vomiting
- sweating and chills
- insomnia and tremors
Due to issues surrounding COVID-19, the federal government has waived the requirement for in-person visits prior to prescribing Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex), a drug that can replace illicit opioids and prevent withdrawal. People who need a prescription can now get one via telemedicine from prescribers with a Drug Enforcement Administration “X waiver.”
Another danger of reduced access to opioids is decreased tolerance. If a person is taking no or fewer drugs than usual and then regains access and takes what was once their normal amount, it could easily result in overdose. Opioid overdose reduces or stops oxygen flow to the brain, which can result in brain injury or death.
Opioid users should be aware of this danger and practice harm reduction to protect themselves. Don’t use alone. If you must, please call Never Use Alone at (800) 484-3731 and they will stay on the line with you.
Opioid users and loved ones should carry Naloxone (Narcan), an overdose-reversing drug. Educate yourself on the signs of overdose and how to use Naloxone. In Arizona, pharmacists are allowed to dispense Naloxone without a prescription. In Arizona, groups like Sonoran Prevention Works, Shot in the Dark (Phoenix) and SAAF (Tucson) can help you find Naloxone kits for free.
This is a difficult time for all of us, especially those of us with additional life challenges. We can overcome these trying times with compassion, awareness and collaboration. Let’s take care of each other, and our community will see us through.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona Statewide Opioid Response Team
ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness, and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members, and professionals.
What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:
- Works with the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
- Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
- Hosts the Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Workgroup
- Deploys a Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response Team with peer support, training and family wraparound services
- Facilitates the Brain Health Advisory Council
- Manages a Statewide Neuro Info-Line 888-500-9165
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