Menu Close

Addiction Resources

Get Started Today

Contact us today to start your journey!

Dangers of Using Opioids During Winter

Opioid misuse is a danger, no matter when it occurs. That’s true, in part, because it can leave your loved one in need of an addiction treatment program. Misuse of these powerful substances also poses a serious risk of a fatal or nonfatal overdose. However, overdose risks aren’t equal at all times of the year. During wintertime, they increase by a considerable amount. Several factors may help explain this increased seasonal danger.

Opioid Overdose Basics

Opioids cause overdoses by triggering big slowdowns in your loved one’s brain and central nervous system activity. If a slowdown only goes so far, an overdose may not be fatal. However, major slowdowns can kill unless prompt medical help is available.

America has a decades-long pattern of rising opioid fatalities. More than 80,000 people now die from this cause annually. In descending order, the biggest sources of fatal opioid overdoses are:

  • Fentanyl and other fully laboratory-made drugs and medications
  • Prescription medications that contain natural or partly laboratory-made opioids
  • The illegal street drug heroin

Substances made entirely in a laboratory cause far more deaths than other kinds of opioids.

Overdoses and Opioid Use During Winter

Every year, the rate of fatal opioid overdoses begins to climb as winter closes in. However, this increase isn’t constant. In warmer spells of winter weather, your loved one’s risks may be the same as during other times of the year. But in colder spells, they tend to spike. In fact, when temperatures fall to at least freezing for three to seven days, the danger increases by 25% to 30%.

If you live in a relatively warm part of the country, this might not be an issue. For example, Hawaii’s average temperatures this time of year are in the mid-60s. But if you live in a colder area, recurring cold snaps may lead to recurring times of increased danger.

What Explains the Increased Danger?

Scientists don’t yet know exactly why fatal opioid overdoses occur more often in the winter. At first, they thought that the biggest factor was the temperature on the day an overdose happened. But as it turns out, that’s not true.

What, then, are the potential dangers of using opioids during winter? The list of things that may have an impact on your loved one includes:

  • How much their breathing is affected by the combination of opioids and cold weather
  • Whether or not they take more opioids during the colder months of the year
  • How much the combination of cold weather and opioids affect their body temperature
  • Whether or not they start using stronger opioids when winter drug supplies drop off

Chances are that none of these issues is the single underlying cause of higher fatalities. However, any of them may be the main culprit in a given situation. What’s more, two or more of them may interact to put your loved one’s life at greater risk. For example, the use of stronger opioids may add to the danger of wintertime breathing problems. Risks may also rise as a result of using stronger opioids in higher amounts.

Turn to Skywood Recovery for More on the Dangers of Using Opioids During Winter

There are multiple potential dangers to using opioids during winter. Together, these dangers make the overall chances of fatally overdosing substantially higher. Want to know more about the risks of opioid use during winter? Get the answers you need at Skywood Recovery.

You can also turn to Skywood for opioid treatment for your affected loved one. We feature a person-specific approach that helps ensure top-quality care at all times. Want to find out more about our detox or active treatment options? Call us today at 269.280.4673 or reach out to us online.