Westwood Behavioral Health Center, a center offering local counseling and behavioral health care services, continues to bring awareness to the opioid epidemic affecting our nation, and local communities, through their H.I.T.S. campaign. Continue reading to learn how you can help identify the signs of opioid addiction.
“We have friends, staff members, and even children we know that are affected by this tragedy. Friends, family members and those in our community who are losing their life to this devastating disease.” – Mark Spieles, CEO at Westwood Behavioral Health.
Spieles shares the facts on the rising opioid epidemic are unsettling, and oftentimes the addictions begin when unintentional users rarely expect it.
- Adolescent athletes in some high-injury sports are at a 50% higher risk of misusing prescription painkillers than their peers who don’t participate in these sports.
- 63% of Ohioans who died from unintentional overdose had a prescription for a controlled substance in the past year. (Source: Take Charge Ohio)
- 1,756 teens will abuse a prescription drug for the first time each day.
“Most people don’t even realize it’s happening right here in our community. It’s easy to overlook some of the signs of addiction – especially in those we love and care about.” – Spieles.
Every day over 130 Americans alone are dying due to an opioid overdose; that’s 130 Americans whose lives have been cut short. Their families and friends left behind to grieve. Their fate and the lives of those who have loved and relied on them now changed forever.
Each loss is heartbreaking, unimaginable and tragic. Whether it be through friends, friends-of-friends, family, coworkers, or peers – we all have a connection to this fatal epidemic.
“It is a national crisis that can only be solved by working together. Those affected by the opioid epidemic are so much more than just a statistic. They’re our friends. Our neighbors. Our family.” – Spieles.
Signs of opioid abuse aren’t always easy to spot, but there are some things you can begin to watch for in those around you.
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Drowsiness, reduction in energy levels and physical activity
- Flu-like symptoms that appear frequently
- Unplanned weight loss
- Mood swings and dramatic change in personality
- Changes in personal hygiene
- Erratic spending
- Poor decision making
- Regularly taking an opioid in a way not intended by the doctor who prescribed it
Note: It’s important to be sure to keep an extra close eye on youth who may be taking prescribed opioids for pain management.
It isn’t always easy to acknowledge and accept the hard facts that our loved ones may be affected by this tragic epidemic, but it’s important that we, as a community, join together and begin to combat the opioid crisis that we are facing. Friends, family, students, teachers, community members, and coworkers need to know they are not alone in this struggle.
Want to learn more on how you can become an advocate for the H.I.T.S. campaign and help fight against the opioid epidemic? Visit www.westwoodbehavioral.org/HITS to learn more.
What is the H.I.T.S. Campaign?
The purpose of the H.I.T.S. campaign is to raise awareness on the rising opioid epidemic in Van Wert and Paulding counties, and other surrounding areas. The goal of the H.I.T.S. campaign is to:
- Increase awareness that opioids can be addictive and dangerous.
- Reduce the number of individuals using these drugs inappropriately.
- Let those who have been affected know that they are not alone and have a team of professionals here to support them.
What does H.I.T.S. stand for?
- Help Identify the Struggle.
- Help Identify the Signs.
- Help Identify the Solutions.
The opioid epidemic hits hard, hits home and hits here in our local community.
Not only does the H.I.T.S. campaign have the potential to reduce the amount of overdoses and provide support to those who are affected – whether it be addicts, family members or friends – but it also provides the opportunity to raise awareness and help others avoid a path to addiction.
Where Can You Find Local Support?
Whether you are directly affected by the use of opioids, know someone who has been affected, or want to help raise awareness to the opioid epidemic, we encourage you to reach out and contact us. If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs immediate intervention, please call 800-567-4673 or text 4HOPE to 741741. We have a team of licensed professionals who are here and ready to help.