Naloxone at Work: 4 Louisiana Inmates Revived after Opiate Overdose

Four inmates in Orleans County overdosed in one day, and all were brought back with

mans hands behind bars in jail or prison

Four inmates in Orleans County overdosed in one day, and all were brought back with the use of naloxone. Sold under the brand name Narcan, the drug is an opiate overdose reversal drug that can be lifesaving. According to the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, two of the inmates were found in a state of overdose in a secure waiting room at the criminal court, and another two were found to be non-responsive in a housing unit later that same day. An investigation into how the inmates got ahold of the drugs is pending.

Said Sheriff Marlin Gusman: “In this case, our first priority was to protect the inmates. We did that thanks to the quick action of our security and medical staffs as well as EMS. We will continue our facility search and work to prevent contraband from entering our facilities.”

Drug Use Is a Natural Consequence of Untreated Addiction

There is no question that someone living with an active and untreated addiction will take drugs when they are available, no matter the risk. It is also uncontested that those who have had a period of sobriety due to accidental or forced abstinence such as what might be experienced after a time of incarceration are at higher risk of overdose when they get high. Many wrongly assume that they can take the same dose of the drug of choice that they were taking prior to their period of abstaining, only to find that their body’s tolerance level has shifted considerably and what was once “just enough” is now far too much.

For people who are incarcerated, though they do not have easy access to illicit substances, they are also not getting the treatment they need to learn how to stay sober. In life, there is no shortage of opportunities in life to drink or get high, and perhaps one of the most important tools to learn during drug rehab is how to resist the cravings that develop and the temptations that can come along unexpectedly. It is just as important to have the support needed to put those new skills into action on a daily basis.

Putting the Tools to Work

Long-term use and abuse of alcohol and drugs changes the way the brain functions. This results in an altered response to different stimuli; how one handles everything from depression to anger to boredom will be different than before substance abuse became a problem. It takes time to learn new ways to respond. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Identify your “triggers.” What is it that you find often puts you in the mood to drink or get high? Is there a person who always makes you want to use, either because they were once drinking/using partners or because they are difficult to deal with? Is there a certain situation that makes you tense or depressed, and every time you think about it, you want to escape through drinking or drug use? Make a list of the different emotions and situations that “trigger” you to crave relapse.

Learn how to recognize a negative response. When you feel angry, agitated, or on the verge of relapse, notice what you are feeling in your body. Do you feel uncomfortable, like you can’t sit still, or do you lay in bed and feel like you can’t move? Do you start to sweat or have a panic attack? These are the signs that it is time to put your plan into action.

Create an in-the-moment plan. Work with a therapist to come up with something you can do in the moment in 30 seconds or less to help you to step out of the situation, take a moment, and pause. For some, this is deep breathing; for others, it is a visualization exercise. There are a number of different things you can do to get yourself to a safe space emotionally so you can take the next step.

Develop a larger plan. Now that you are calm, what will you do next? Depending on the situation, this will vary widely. For example, you may do something different if it is the middle of the night and you have woken up from a bad dream craving alcohol than if it is after a fight with your partner or a coworker in the middle of the day.

Make a backup plan. Once you have a plan in place, have a backup plan. This can include having a list of phone numbers you can call where people are ready to be supportive of you on the other end.

Focus on getting your stress levels down. In order to reduce cravings and manage situations that are difficult for you, it is a good idea to work steadily on getting your stress levels lower. This may mean starting a workout regimen, eating more healthfully, learning how to meditate, or moving to a calmer location.

How do you stay on track when you feel triggered to relapse?

Since joining the Townsend content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.