overdose awareness

Let's talk about domestic violence and Overdose Awareness Day (8/31)

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National Overdose Awareness Day is August 31st

This month, we are also talking about Domestic Violence.

In recognition of National Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, this month Dose of Wellness is taking time to talk about substance misuse, especially opiates and fentanyl, which can often lead to overdose and death. Throughout the month, we will also be bringing awareness to Domestic Violence and sharing resources for support for survivors as well.

Domestic violence and overdose are tough topics to discuss, but important to talk about. Having these difficult and emotional conversations is the first step to eliminating future domestic violence issues and preventing overdoses.

988 can open the door for all New Mexicans to seek mental well-being or substance use help, while sending the message that healing, hope, and help are happening every day.

Domestic Violence Awareness

It can happen to anyone, and it's never your fault.

Domestic Violence (DV) is defined as a pattern of behavior that establishes power and control over another person. Behaviors that frighten, intimidate, threaten and/or use physical violence are a few indicators of domestic violence. While often associated with physical abuse, domestic violence also includes verbal, psychological, financial, sexual, economic and spiritual abuse.

 

Signs of Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence Include:

  • Physical Abuse: hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use, use of force to trap a partner in their home or kick them out, use of a weapon to threaten or use of physical force in sexual situations.
  • Sexual Abuse: coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
  • Emotional Abuse: undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem, constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling or damaging one’s relationship with a partner’s children.
  • Financial/Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
  • Psychological Abuse: causing fear by intimidation, threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends, destruction of pets and property or forcing isolation from family and friends.
  • Technology-Assisted Abuse: use of cellphones, computers, social networks and other electronic tools to stalk, bully, intimidate, frighten, harass or otherwise harm someone.
  • Cyberstalking: a pattern of threatening behavior or unwanted advances directed at another using online communications.
  • Cyberbullying: willful and repeated harm inflicted using computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.

 

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation or class. Minors, including teens and youth, experience the same types of abuse in relationships as adults. Veterans experience DV at high rates, and LGBTQIA+ people are at increased risk of DV and sexual assault (SA). If you or someone you know have suffered domestic violence, remember— it wasn’t your fault, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and you are not alone. There are providers and people who care and can help you. No one deserves to be abused.

 

Recovery from domestic violence is possible. The New Mexico Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Services Division (BHSD) can connect domestic violence survivors to help. They work to identify who is most in need, and partner with many local agencies on the ground to provide services. They offer safe community spaces for people to come together and talk, counseling for survivors of DV and SA, and supply kits, education and awareness throughout the state. BHSD works with local DV shelters that provide emergency housing, and crisis centers that can document injuries and work with survivors if they want to pursue legal action. BHSD also has a new dedicated LGBTQIA+ outreach and awareness program, as people in this community are over-represented in cases of DV and SA.

 

BHSD takes a holistic, whole-person wellness approach to address DV and sexual assault so that whatever survivors are going through, they can find the type of care they need. They incorporate traditional, western and culturally relevant services into the care that is provided. They have programs for veterans and Native Americans and offer support groups where people can feel safe talking about their trauma. All the DV and SA services through BHSD are confidential and free. You can find a provider by visiting www.treatmentconnection.com.

 

For youth in New Mexico, help is available through ReachNM, the CYFD Youth Textline for Suspected Abuse and Neglect. ReachNM makes specially trained personnel available to answer questions from youth and connect them with the support they need 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via text. If you have questions regarding abuse or need help, text 505-591-9444.

 

Right now, calling 988 if you are in a crisis is a way for survivors of DV and assault to receive immediate, comprehensive support. The trained crisis counselors who answer 988 calls not only listen to you talk about what you have experienced but can connect you to the best available local resources to help you in the moment. 988 crisis counselors can also help you figure out a plan for next steps to take if that is what you want to do.

 

Overdose Prevention and Harm Reduction Work

Together, we can break this cycle.

Overdose deaths in New Mexico caused by opioid misuse have increased since the start of the pandemic. Certain populations may be at increased risk of an overdose, including:

  • Anyone who takes opioids with other medications or substances including alcohol
  • Anyone who uses heroin, morphine or fentanyl
  • People with reduced tolerance following detox or release from incarceration
  • Someone who has had a previous non-fatal overdose
  • Anyone who uses opioid medications to manage pain.

 

Accidental overdose and death can happen whether you are taking prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl or mixing more than one drug, including alcohol. Opioids can cause reactions that make your breathing slow or even stop, which is a common factor in a lot of overdose cases. About 74% of overdose deaths in New Mexico are caused by some form of opiates, including fentanyl, and over the last three years, overdose deaths due specifically to fentanyl rose by 135%. Fentanyl is an incredibly strong opioid, and even a small amount can cause an overdose in an unsuspecting person. Street drugs are often laced with fentanyl.

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioids, carrying Narcan can save a life in case of an overdose. Narcan is a life-saving medication administered nasally and is available to any New Mexican and is covered by Medicaid. Narcan – also known as Naloxone – is a nasal spray medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose. You can get Narcan anywhere in New Mexico by calling (505) 270-5943. It’s a good idea to always carry Narcan with you, because it’s easy to use and can be administered by anyone. Our sister campaign, Dose of Reality, has a comprehensive list of Narcan providers on their website: Learn how to get and use Narcan to help save someone from an overdose death.

 

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling to treat opioid addiction to both prescription pain relievers and heroin. Opioid addiction is a chronic disease, like heart disease or diabetes that can’t be cured, but it can be managed to help a person with addiction regain a healthy, productive life. People can’t just walk away from addiction – they need help. You can access resources on obtaining medication-assisted treatment through Dose of Reality. Click here to learn about MAT.

 

While there is no completely safe way to use illicit drugs and other substances, there are ways to diminish the harmful effects associated with substance misuse, such as overdose. When it comes to using heroin, fentanyl and other opioids, follow these less risky harm reduction tips to reduce the risk of overdose:

  • Never use alone
  • Carry Narcan
  • Listen to your body
  • Test your supply
  • Use slowly

 

For more information, visit Dose of Reality – Harm Reduction or call Never Use Alone at 1-800-484-3731.

prevention is possible

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Remember to embrace conversations about mental health with others, and to spread the word that mental health is just as important as physical health—it’s all connected.