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A Chronic Health Condition and the Role of Harm Reduction

Understanding Substance Use: A Chronic Health Condition


Substance use is a chronic brain condition characterized by a compulsive desire to seek and use
substances, despite harmful effects. It's not a moral failure or a choice, but a medical condition that alters the brain’s structure and function. Substance use takes many forms, including:

  • Alcohol use

  • Opioid use

  • Cannabis use

  • Sedative, hypnotic, or anxiolytic use

  • Cocaine use

  • Other stimulant use

  • Hallucinogen use

  • Tobacco use

  • Inhalant use

  • Other psychoactive substance use

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Man Laying on Street from OD

Centering on Opioid Use, Its Chronic Nature, and Impact on Youth

This Harm Stopper Web Portal primarily focuses on opioid use. However, substances like fentanyl and xylazine can also be added to non-opioid recreational substances including sedatives and stimulants. As substance use continues, the brain's mu-opioid receptors, which play a key role in the rewarding effects of opioids, become less sensitive. This decreased sensitivity means that larger amounts are needed to achieve the same effects. This can result in a risky cycle of escalating use. It's crucial to note that opioid-naive individuals, particularly youth, have highly sensitive mu-opioid receptors, making them more susceptible to overdoses even with small amounts of the substance.

Comprehensive Care is Crucial for Effective Management

 

Similar to other chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, substance use requires ongoing care and management. Through a harmonious blend of medication, therapy, and support, individuals can regain control of their lives and move toward recovery. Society's understanding and compassion are vital in helping those affected to overcome the challenges of this debilitating condition.

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Coffee and a Tablet

Knowledge Empowers, Reduces Substance Use, and Aids Recovery

A lack of accurate education and the spread of misinformation significantly contribute to recreational substance use. When people, especially youth, aren't equipped with factual information about the risks and repercussions of substance use, they might underestimate the hazards or be influenced by misconceptions. Misinformation, often spread through social media and peer groups, can glamorize substance use or downplay its dangers, leading individuals to make uninformed decisions. It's crucial that educational institutions, communities, and media outlets prioritize evidence-based education about substance use and its consequences. Correct information empowers individuals to make informed choices and fosters a society better equipped to address and prevent substance-related issues.

Remove Barriers to Life-Changing Information and Resources

When vital information and resources are tough to find or require excessive navigation, it leads to poor dissemination and reduced accessibility for those who need it most. In an age of information overload, it's crucial that essential information be easily accessible and straightforward. Organizations and information providers must prioritize user-friendly interfaces, clear and consistent information, and streamlined access to resources to ensure that vital information reaches the widest audience effectively and efficiently.

Removing barriers
Phone with HarmStopper

Harm Stopper iPortal: Your Companion for Better Understanding

The Harm Stopper iPortal is a first-in-class, AI-driven, comprehensive online resource using advanced geolocation to provide the most relevant information for each individual user. It also uses advanced geolocation to provide physical resources that are in the user's "backyard".

Introducing HarmGuard FX™ and the Harm Stopper iPortal: An Innovative Response to Substance Use

A Revolution in Harm Reduction

HarmGuard FX™ presents a revolutionary rapid test strip capable of detecting both fentanyl and xylazine in recreational substances within five minutes. The synthetic substance fentanyl and the non-opioid tranquilizer xylazine have increasingly infiltrated recreational substances, contributing significantly to the opioid crisis and posing severe health risks, including fatal  overdoses. Affordable, user-friendly, and accurate, HarmGuard FX™ serves as a crucial tool in harm reduction efforts.

Testing is just part of the solution. The other part involves education, training, medical care, psychological counseling, and other local resources. The Harm Stopper iPortal is the first AI augmented, geolocation-based web portal that delivers highly relevant, local resources and services on demand.

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Addressing the Growing Challenge with HarmGuard FX™

The opioid crisis is a catastrophic public health concern. Manufacturers of recreational substances are increasingly using low-cost, highly potent cutting agents such as fentanyl and xylazine to reduce costs and eliminate reliance on poppy farming. The prevalence of potent substances like fentanyl and xylazine has accelerated overdoses and deaths dramatically. HarmGuard FX™, a cutting-edge product by Sivad, targets this crisis by providing an accessible, affordable, and accurate means for individuals to screen their substances for these hazardous adulterants before using them.

Understanding Fentanyl and Xylazine: A Lethal Combination

Fentanyl is a synthetic substance up to 100 times more potent than heroin. While typically used by healthcare professionals as a painkiller in medical settings, it has found its way into recreational substances like heroin and counterfeit prescription pills, significantly increasing the risk of overdose. Its effects can be reversed by naloxone (Narcan).

 

Conversely, xylazine, primarily used as an animal sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant, has emerged as an adulterant in recreational substances such as heroin due to its potent impact on the central nervous system. Unlike fentanyl, its effects CANNOT be reversed with naloxone (Narcan).

 

Both fentanyl and xylazine, alone or in combination, can lead to severe respiratory depression resulting in oxygen deprivation, brain damage or even death. Additionally, the combination could cause a significant drop in blood pressure leading to circulatory collapse and organ failure. Xylazine alone can cause severe wounds that do not heal and may lead to necrosis and amputations.
 

female drug addict
Heroin and syringe

Identifying Threats with HarmGuard FX™: Preventing Catastrophe Before It Strikes

HarmGuard FX™ is a revolutionary rapid test capable of detecting both fentanyl and xylazine using one low-cost strip - making it the first product of its kind validated by a US-based FDA-registered testing lab. By offering reliable detection of these dangerous substances, HarmGuard FX™ takes an essential role in harm reduction efforts.

Using HarmGuard FX™: A Simple, Straightforward Process
Using HarmGuard FX™ is straightforward:

  1. Mix a small sample of the substance with water.

  2. Dip the test strip into the solution for 15 seconds..

  3. Remove the strip and wait for results within 5 minutes.

 

The test strip will display lines indicating whether fentanyl or xylazine are present or absent

Protecting Lives through Commitment: Sivad’s comprehensive Harm Stopper Program™ offers national resources related to harm reduction accessible via a QR code on each HarmGuard FX pouch linked to geolocated resources such as naloxone distribution locations.

Benefits Of Using HarmGuard FX

HarmGuard FX offers numerous benefits such as life-saving potential by preemptively detecting lethal substances before use; user-friendliness, providing easy-to-read results within five minutes; affordability, maximizing reach; environmental friendliness, utilizing biodegradable components; support for harm reduction initiatives as part of Sivad's comprehensive program providing local information.

 

In conclusion, by understanding the importance of tools like HarmGuard FX and promoting their use, we can make a significant impact in harm reduction and help save lives affected by substance use.

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