Many people have either lost friends or family members to drug overdose, or know someone who has lost loved ones. Today’s street drugs are being laced with ever more powerful synthetic drugs, which combination can be fatal. Even the opioid overdose antidote Narcan (naloxone) is ineffective or less effective on these synthetic killers. With the recent increase in opioid overdoses—most caused by super-potent opioids like fentanyl or carfentanil—it is becoming increasingly important to know what to do in such situations.
International Overdose Awareness Day is held annually on August 31, 2017, all over the world. Get involved by attending, promoting, or holding an event of your own.
International Overdose Awareness Day began in 2001 as a simple ceremony in Australia to honor those lost to overdose. Since then, community groups and other organizations have held events worldwide to raise awareness, reduce stigma, acknowledge the grief of families who have lost loved ones, and commemorate those lost. Importantly, International Overdose Awareness Day aims to spread the message that overdose is preventable.
Overdose can happen to anyone—whether someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or someone who is experimenting for the first time or is mixing drugs.
There are a number of signs that show someone has overdosed, and they’re different depending on type of drug. Symptoms include:
Depressants (heroin, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone)
Stimulants (amphetamine, MDMA)
There are many ways you can help if you encounter someone you think might have overdosed:
Don’t let people “sleep it off” if they are snoring or making gurgling sounds—they are most likely unconscious and have a blocked or partially blocked airway.
Don’t worry about being implicated in drug use yourself. Good Samaritan laws offer basic legal protection—liability for hurting someone you are trying to help—to people who assist a person who is injured or in danger.
At Cornerstone, we offer individualized addiction treatment plans for addiction and dual diagnosis. If you witness an overdose, please call 911 immediately. If you or a loved one needs help for a substance use disorder, please contact our admissions counselor online or call 1-888-711-0354 today. All communications with our staff are confidential.