Desert Messenger

September 21, 2022

Desert Messenger is your local connection for news, events, and entertainment!

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 23

September 21, 2022 23 ������ | S������ RAIN G�����-B��� Is COVID-19 pandemic over? What is fentanyl? Fentanyl is an opi- oid used as a prescription painkiller, usually in the form of a patch or a pill. It can also be used in anesthesia. Fen- tanyl is sedating and slows breathing and heart rates. What is a lethal dose of fentanyl? We don't really know the lethal dose because pills and people are different. We do know that the smallest dose can be deadly, especially for someone who doesn't take opioids regularly. Most recent overdoses are not a re- sult of pharmaceutical-grade fentanyl in prescription doses. Rather, the drug is being imported in pills that resemble prescription medication and include other substances such as heroin or Xanax, a brand of anxiety medication. Thus, users who assume they're tak- ing prescription medication in a safe dose may end up consuming a mix of lethal drugs. How can you identify a counterfeit pill? According to the U.S. Drug Enforce- ment Agency, many counterfeit pills are made to look like prescription opi- oids such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and alprazolam (Xanax); or stimulants like amphetamines (Adderall). Others are imprinted with "M30" and known as "Blues" or "Oxy 30s." Bottom line: Never trust yourself to determine if a pill is legitimate. The only safe medications are those prescribed by a trusted medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Is fentanyl risky to handle? Because we don't know how small a dose is safe, it is best to wear gloves when handling a sus- pected opioid and to wash your hands af- terward. Don't administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to someone who has taken fentanyl. How can you tell if someone has overdosed, and what should you do? If the person's breathing and heart rate have slowed, their pupils are small, and they don't respond to your voice, call 9-1-1 immediately. Fentanyl is fast-acting, especially if it's snorted. Then, if it's available, administer nalox- one, a medication sold under the brand name Narcan that rapidly reverses the effect of opioids. Naloxone is a nasal spray. After spraying the medication into one nostril, roll the victim onto their side because there's a good chance they'll vomit, and you want to make sure they don't choke. ~Sarah Leitz, MD, Courtesy Desert Messenger News By Don Herrington AZHS Whether or not it's called a pandemic, COVID-19 remains an active concern Is the pandemic over? Is the COVID-19 pandemic over? That question is getting a lot of at- tention this week, and it's natural to wonder where ADHS (Arizona Department of Health Services) stands. In Arizona, however, we look past terminology to the impact of a virus on the health and wellness of our residents. There's no question that COVID-19 remains a state, national, and global problem. The impacts have been far less as of late, thanks in large part to widespread vaccination, but people continue to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19, particularly those who are older. Long COVID remains a concern for all ages. ADHS will continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance, which re- mains in place: Get vaccinated and boosted: Being up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccina- tion according to CDC recommen- dations is the best protection from COVID-19. During July, it reduced the chances of being hospitalized by 18 times and of dying by 47 times versus those who aren't vaccinated against COVID-19. The new bivalent Omicron booster available to every- one 12 and older targets subvari- ants BA.4 and BA.5 that account for nearly all cases today. We strongly recommend this booster for every- one, but it's especially important for older people and those with weak- ened immune systems. Going for- ward, it's quite possible your COV- ID-19 booster will be given with and be just as important as your annual infl uenza vaccination. Pay attention to COVID-19 com- munity levels and local health guid- ance: Each week, the CDC updates COVID-19's county-level impact in terms of case rate and impact on the health care system. With those com- munity levels come recommenda- tions for mask use. At the moment, no Arizona county has a high com- munity level that includes a recom- mendation of masks in public in- door settings. But be sure to assess your own risk and act accordingly, along with following guidance from your local health department. Stick with the basics: In addition to being up-to-date on vaccinations, staying at home if you are sick, washing your hands thoroughly and often, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, maintain- ing physical distance, and taking other simple precautions will help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Whether it's labeled a pandemic or not, COVID-19 is and will remain an unpredictable foe, COVID-19 vaccines are a proven way to protect yourself and those around you, and there are effective ways to guard against COVID-19 and other com- municable diseases. Learn more at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Desert Messenger - September 21, 2022