Drug overdoses are one of the scariest risks associated with substance use, and, unfortunately, they happen frequently. There were nearly 70,000 drug overdoses in the United States in 2018 alone. That figure breaks down to 128 people every single day.
It’s important for people to know the signs, risk factors, and how the body can recover from an overdose.
A drug overdose occurs when you take more of a drug than your body can process. You may not recognize that you’re overdosing when it’s happening.
Different drugs affect different parts of the brain. Depending on the drug, overdose symptoms vary, but some common symptoms include:
Drug overdoses are medical emergencies that require immediate intervention. If someone doesn’t get help soon enough, they can die.
Overdoses can happen for various reasons. Common ones include:
You’re at risk of overdosing anytime you abuse a substance, but some things can increase the risk. These are called risk factors, and common ones include:
Drug overdoses aren’t always apparent. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of an overdose on different types of drugs, so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Alcohol overdose symptoms may include:
If you’re concerned someone is overdosing on alcohol, call 911. Don’t assume the person will sleep it off. Don’t leave an unconscious person alone. This may result in them choking on their own vomit. If they start vomiting, try to keep them in a seated position. If they remain lying down, turn their head to the side.
Cocaine overdose symptoms may include:
Cocaine overdose can occur at any time. Many people drink alcohol when they use cocaine, which can increase this risk. Additionally, cocaine potency varies dramatically. It’s not uncommon for dealers to lace cocaine with synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Call 911 immediately if you suspect someone is overdosing on cocaine. Do not restrain someone if they’re having a seizure. Try to position them safely in a side-lying position. You can also apply a cold towel to their forehead and wrists to help regulate body temperature.
Meth overdose symptoms may include:
Call 911 if you suspect someone is overdosing on meth. If they are unconscious, try to move them so they’re laying on their side. If they’re on their back, they risk choking on their vomit. If they’re having a seizure, don’t restraint them, but try to keep their head and limbs away from any objects that could result in injuries.
Opioid overdoses have become increasingly common in recent years. Opioid overdose symptoms include:
Call 911 immediately if you think someone is overdosing on opioids. If you have naloxone available, administer it. Naloxone can help reverse opioid overdose effects. Try to keep the person awake and conscious. Lay them on their side to avoid the risk of choking.
If you suspect someone is overdosing on any drug, call 911 immediately. The faster someone gets help, the more likely they are to survive.
Some people feel nervous about seeking medical attention because they don’t want the police to get involved. In response to this fear, 40 states and Washington, D.C. have passed “Good Samaritan” laws. These laws offer protection for low-level drug offenses.
Overdoses can be intense wake-up calls. For many people, they act as a catalyst for entering treatment. At Footprints to Recovery, we’re here to help you get back on your feet. No matter your circumstances or your past, we’re to support you. Contact us today to learn more.