Opioid Overdose: How It’s Become A National Crisis and How You Can Help


Everyday, 11 people in Canada die of an opioid overdose. Opioid overdose has become a national crisis in Canada, and this crisis continues to impact the entire country. Between January 2016 and September 2018, more than 10,300 Canadians lost their lives to opioid-related overdoses, with this number only continuing to rise as the months go on. It’s crucial that we are educated on the symptoms of opioid use, the way that opioids affect the body, and how we can help prevent any more opioid-related deaths from occurring.

Prescription opioids, essentially, are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. They are often used as medicine, as they can relax the body and ease pain, but they also produce a high, which is why many people use them for non-medical reasons. Some common opioids include Oxycontin, Vicodin, morphine, fentanyl, codeine, and more. The effects that opioids have on the brain and body include drowsiness, confusion, nausea, euphoria, constipation, and slowed breathing. 

Not only as a society, but as employers, it is extremely important to recognize the symptoms of opioid addiction in order to prevent an overdose, and to seek medical attention for those that need it. The most prominent symptoms include:

  • Poor coordination

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Drowsiness

  • Slurred speech

  • Euphoria

  • Depression

If you notice that someone you know is displaying these symptoms, it’s possible that they are abusing opioids, and it’s important to get them medical attention as soon as possible.

To many individuals today, opioids can be regarded as a less invasive, easier way to experience a high. Adolescents have often been found experimenting with opioids at parties. Educating about the risks of opioid abuse is critical, as opioid overdose can result in a coma, permanent brain damage, or death.


On June 14th, 2015, a parents’ worst nightmare came true for Becky Savage, who found both of her sons, Nick and Jack Savage, dead from an opioid-related overdose in Granger, Indiana. Both Nick and Jack had experimented with opioids and alcohol the night before at a party, and were unresponsive when their mother found them in their beds the next morning. Since the death of her sons, Becky Savage has created the 525 Foundation, which brings awareness to the dangers of prescription drugs and how important it is to dispose of unneeded medication. For more information on the story of Nick and Jack Savage, please click here.

This is just one example of the pain and heartbreak that opioid use can inflict upon individuals, families, and communities. It also shows us how important it is to educate ourselves and others on opioid abuse.

We at Precede believe that not only is it important to drug test employees, but it’s also extremely important to educate employees on the risk of using opioids, and for businesses to implement safety policies and procedures to prevent substance abuse in the workplace. Precede offers a variety of services in this area, from drug testing, to helping companies build these policies and procedures, to offering education forums and sessions. Implementing these policies also helps individuals who are struggling with substance abuse to seek professional help, and ensure our workplaces are a supportive and safe environment for all.


Opioid addiction is not something that anyone should have to battle alone. Our goal at Precede is to educate as many people as we can on today’s opioid crisis in order to prevent the death rate from increasing, and to remember those who have been lost due to overdose. For more information on what you can do to help, please click here.

To donate to the 525 Foundation, please click here. To learn more about how Precede can help your company and your employees, please click here.