Substance Use Disorder

2021 saw an all-time high in drug overdose deaths and sadly, the deaths continue to rise. With the rise in overdoses, we must share with the community what substance use disorder is and how to help in case of an overdose. According to EndSUD, substance use disorder is the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. We know you have questions, and we’re here to help.

What is substance use disorder? What are some of the symptoms?

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a preventable and treatable medical condition that is described by the repeated use of substances such as drugs and alcohol. Signs of SUD will be different with each substance used, but some symptoms can include red eyes, slow reaction time, risky behavior, and unexplained changes in personality or attitude.

What leads to overdose? Who is most at risk?

An overdose happens when too much of a substance is used. Drug overdoses are most common in young children and people in their teens to mid-thirties. People who have certain health conditions are also affected and at higher risk such as those with mental health disorders and a history of substance use.

How can we help?

HealthPoint clinics provide medication treatment and access to counsellors for substance use disorder. Our providers can give Suboxone, Sublocade and Vivitrol for opioid use disorder, and several other additional medications for alcohol use disorder.  HealthPoint pharmacies have Naloxone available to give to patients and will show you how to properly use it.


To learn more about available treatments at one of our clinics, visit:

What are Suboxone, Sublocade, Vivitrol, and Naloxone? What do they do?

Suboxone is a medication used to treat substance use disorder and is a mixture of buprenorphine and naloxone. It works by attaching to the same receptors in the brain as other opiates; slowing the intoxication from other drugs and preventing cravings, allowing people to return to a normal life.


Sublocade is the injectable form of Suboxone and requires a monthly injection of the medicine to prevent cravings; allowing people to return to normal.


Vivitrol blocks the effects of opiates in the brain while slowing the effects of other substances in the brain. Vivitrol can be used to treat either opioid or alcohol use disorder.


While Sublocade, Suboxone, and Vivitrol are prescribed to treat substance use disorder, Naloxone is used to quickly reverse an overdose. Naloxone attaches to opioid receptors to reverse and block the opioid effects; allowing someone to quickly return to normal breathing if it has slowed or stopped altogether due to overdose. Washington state has a standing order that allows anyone to receive this medication from a pharmacy. Ask a pharmacist how to properly give it during an overdose.

Resources to read more information:

American Psychiatric Association. (2020, December). What is Substance Use Disorder? American Psychiatric Association.

Office of Worker’s Compensation Program. (n.d.). Risk Factors for Opioid Misuse, Addiction, and Overdose. US Department of Labor.

HealthPoint. (n.d.). Substance Use Disorder Care.

NIDA. (2022, January 11). Naloxone DrugFacts. National Institute of Health.

Dr. Peter Grinspoon, MD. (2021, October 7). 5 Myths about using Suboxone to treat opiate addiction. Harvard Health Publishing.

Healthline. (n.d.). All About Sublocade Injection.

Ryan Blethen. (2019, August 28).  Anyone in Washington state can now obtain Naloxone, the opioid overdose medication. The Seattle Times.

End Substance Use Disorder. (n.d.). What We Do.

National Alliance on Mental Alliance. (2020, May). Substance Use Disorders.

Mayo Clinic. (2017, October 26). Drug addiction (substance use disorder).