La Crosse County raising awareness for drug overdoses, wants to eliminate stigma of addiction

Drug overdoses are the number one cause of accidental deaths in the U.S., claiming more than 100 lives each day.

As a part of International Overdose Awareness Day, La Crosse County’s Heroin and Illicit Drug Task Force is encouraging people to talk about overdoses. The Task Force is hoping to reduce the negative stigma around drug addiction through the campaign with the slogan “Overdose Doesn’t Discriminate.”

“The people who are overdosing are poeple. They have families and loved ones. So stigmatizing them is not going to solve any problems. It’s just going to keep escalating that problem,” said La Crosse County Health Education Intern Kelsey Skala.

The Task Force says each person can help on an individual level as well by learning the signs and symptoms of an overdose.

Symptoms of depressant overdose (opioids, heroin):

Face is clammy and has lost color
Lips are blue
Body is limp
Fingertips are blue
Sleep is deep and cannot be woken
Breathing is slow or has stopped
Heartbeat is slow or has stopped

Symptoms of stimulant overdose (meth & other amphetamines):

Chest pain
Severe headache
High temperature
Difficulty breathing
Agitation and paranoia