Opioids & IV Drug Use: Risks, Warning Signs & How to Help a Loved One

Opioids & IV Drug Use: Risks, Warning Signs & How to Help a Loved One

As the parent or caregiver of someone struggling with opioid use, it’s important to understand how and why IV drug use may become a factor. This series of four videos will help families better understand the progression to IV drug use, the added layer of risks, how to spot early warning signs, and most importantly, steps one can take to help a loved one.

GHB (GAMMA-HYDROXYBUTYRIC ACID)

WHAT IS IT?

GHB is prescribed as Xyrem, which is also known as a “date rape drug.” It comes in a liquid or as a white powder that is dissolved in water, juice, or alcohol. In liquid form, GHB is clear and colorless and slightly salty in taste.

STREET NAMES

G, Georgia Home Boy, Goop, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Scoop, Liquid Ecstasy

HOW IT IS TAKEN

  • Usually a liquid, mixed in a beverage 
  • White powder normally dissolved in a liquid

HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE BODY?

  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria, drowsiness, decreased anxiety, excited and aggressive behavior
  • Addictive

OVERDOSE SYMPTOMS

Unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate, greatly slowed breathing, lower body temperature, vomiting, nausea, coma, death

Reference: https://www.justthinktwice.gov/drugs/ghb-gamma-hydroxybutyric-acid

Community Prevention Initiative

The Boston Public Health Commission has created a website explaining all the prevention basics, including overdose prevention and youth substance use prevention. The website talks about what Boston is currently doing and breaks down the strategic plan for each prevention effort. The website also offers a free Narcan training for those who are interested.

Don’t forget! If you’re in MA you can get Narcan at any pharmacy simply by asking at the counter. Narcan is a standing prescription and you would simply pay your usual copay.

For more information go to the website below:

Boston Public Health Commission

Social Hosting Law

This is when an individual over the legal age serves, furnishes, or permits the possession or consumption of alcohol to a person underage on property for which s/he has responsibility. All statutes, regulations and case law that were centered on social hosting of alcohol parties were included.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids, https://socialhost.drugfree.org/

Want to learn more about the social hosting law in your states. Partnership for Drug Free Kids has created a map that will break down the law in each state. Follow the link below to learn more about the social hosting law in your state.

Social Hosting Laws

FENTANYL

WHAT IS IT?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Pharmaceutical fentanyl was developed for pain management treatment of cancer patients, applied in a patch on the skin. Fentanyl is abuse for its powerful opioid properties. Fentanyl is added to heroin to increase its potency. It is also disguised as highly potent heroin where users believe they are purchasing heroin, but are actually purchasing fentanyl. This results in overdose deaths.

STREET NAMES

Apace, China Girl, China Town, China White, Dance Fever, Goodfellas, Great Bear, He-Man, Poison and Tango & Cash

HOW IT IS TAKEN

Clandestine fentanyl is typically injected, or inhaled like heroin.

HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE BODY?

• Intense, short-term high
• Temporary feelings of euphoria
• Slowed respiration and reduced blood pressure
• Nausea
• Fainting
• Seizures
• Death

Reference: https://www.justthinktwice.gov/drug-fact/fentanyl