Opioid Awareness Was a Big Hit in Chattanooga

Fans who attended the June 21 Chattanooga Lookouts’ game against the Biloxi Shuckers walked away with something extra—important information on preventing misuse and abuse of prescription opioids. That is because the Hamilton County Coalition and the Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (CADAS) partnered with Allied Against Opioid Abuse to sponsor Opioid Awareness Night at AT&T Field. We handed out materials on safe storage and disposal of opioid medications, as well as a flyer with local medication drop-off locations. We also demonstrated how to use at-home disposal bags to deactivate opioid painkillers so they are safe to put in the trash.

Why promote such a serious issue at a fun event? The opioid abuse crisis affects us all. There is no community, age group or socioeconomic class that is immune to the opioid crisis, so every Tennessean needs to know what they can do to empower themselves, their families and their neighborhoods to avoid addiction.

Our organizations are dedicated to reaching out to middle and high schools, employers, professional training providers, neighborhood groups and faith-based organizations to deliver prevention education.

We realize that beating the opioid epidemic will require community cohesiveness, so we are also involved in building safe, resilient neighborhoods that can remain drug-free. It is great to have AAOA on board supplying vital resources covering the rights, risks and responsibilities associated with prescription opioids. For example, every patient has the right to talk with their doctor to about pain management solutions and understand the risk of addiction all prescription opioids carry.

Any patient who needs opioid pain relievers also bears a responsibility to store them securely and dispose of any unused portion. Those two simple steps will help to make sure prescription opioids do not end up in the wrong hands and prevent abuse and misuse.

Please check your medicine cabinet. If you were prescribed a painkiller in the past, it is not safe for you or others to take those pills outside a doctor’s care. Use a disposal bag or drop them off at a disposal facility.

We recognize that prevention is only part of the answer. If you or someone you know is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, help is available. CADAS has numerous treatment options and the Hamilton County Coalition can also help direct you to other treatment resources.

The most important thing is to take action to help yourself and others combat opioid addiction. Get the resources you need at the Allied Against Opioid Abuse website.

This article was originally published in The Chattanoogan.