Overdose Epidemic: What Can Be Done to Stop It?
Running Time: 20 minutes
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The spike in drug overdose is alarming and dangerous—it has become an epidemic in many communities across the country. Why is this happening? This program takes a hard look at drug overdose from three points of view—an ER doctor, a pharmacologist, and several teens who have overdosed and lived to tell about it. Viewers learn the most lethal drug overdose happens when users combine various drugs that can cause almost instant death. The program includes vital information on how to recognize drug overdose in others and how to get immediate help.
video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
Bronze Telly Award
This powerful video packs an amazing amount of information into 20 minutes. An emergency room staffer sums up the increasing epidemic of drug overdoses perfectly when he says, “There’s an expression that some things are worse than death. What happens after someone has been brain dead because of an overdose is in that category.” He also states, “I wish kids could shadow me in the ER and see how really bad it is.” The recovering teens whose cameos are juxtaposed with doctors Elizabeth Jorgensen and Steve Wexler are articulate and frank about their experiences and the number of their friends who have died. Overdose deaths have jumped from 400 to 40,000 per year in a decade. The film points out that with alcohol, the body tries to fight back by making the user vomit, but opiates, particularly synthetic ones, affect pain receptors, cloud thinking, and suppress breathing, sharply increasing the risk of coma. While benzodiazepines are less lethal, mixing either with alcohol can be disastrous. (ERs are facing so many victims of synthetic drugs, whose ingredients are a mystery, that treatment is often a total crapshoot.) the film emphasizes that calling 911, telling responders or ER staff what the person took, or providing a sample to help determine what drug has been taken are all covered under most states’ Good Samaritan laws. While at times graphic (teens shooting up in their neck or between their toes), this film does as good a job of getting its message across as anything produced for this audience.
—John R. Clark, Hartland Public Library, ME
School Library Journal
This cautionary documentary addresses the epidemic of drug overdoses in America (citing 40,000 in 2013 alone) that is largely taking a toll on high school kids using barbiturates, synthetic narcotics, methamphetamine, and heroin. The stories of kids telling themselves that their drug use is just an occasional recreational activity are all-too-common, as are the results: sudden respiratory illness, unconsciousness, and heart failure. Several young former addicts speak about their experiences here, as do first responders, parents, emergency room doctors, and others. The psychological and emotional impact of death or permanent disability on families and health professionals is also explored. A powerful youth guidance film on a sadly perennial topic, this is highly recommended.
Highly Recommended Most people will probably agree that drug use and experimentation among young adults is not a new phenomenon; what is new however, are the types of drugs that are being consumed by today’s youth. Today’s generation of young people are experimenting with drugs like Percocet, Oxycodone and narcotics like heroin. These drugs are deceptively dangerous, highly addictive and in many instances can lead to chronic use and overdose. The Overdose Epidemic: What Can Be Done to Stop It? is an eye-opening film that gives us a glimpse into the world of drug use and the sometimes fatal consequences associated with the activity. This film should be required viewing for both high school students and their parents. Drug addiction is never and easy topic to discuss, but it cannot be avoided, young people have to be educated about the dangers of drugs and where to go for help if they or someone they know needs it. The Overdose Epidemic is a great way to break the ice and to get people talking and thinking about one of the most serious social issues of our time. High school librarians should consider adding this title to their collections. Social science professionals who work with at-risk youth will also want to invest in this film.
Professor Carl R. Andrews, Reference & Instruction Librarian, Bronx Community College
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)