Drug Overdose: The Preventable Death

Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the United States alone, particularly for individuals in their 30s and 40s. Most of these deaths are preventable, which is the most alarming flip side to the issue. Because of the increase in drug overdose deaths, preventable measures and tactics have been created and adopted. In this article we will be discussing some of the different ways to help someone if they are experiencing a drug overdose or severe withdrawal from a substance.

How To Tell If Someone Is Experiencing a Drug Overdose

When an individual is experiencing a drug overdose or severe withdrawals, you may notice that he or she becomes very tired, their breathing slows down significantly and they can even become unconscious. Some other overdose symptoms are listed below and vary depending on the drug that has been abused or used:

  • Change in the size of the individual’s pupils
  • They may become very irritable and agitated
  • Drug overdose can, and typically does, cause convulsions
  • Death is one of the largest symptoms of an overdose
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Vomiting and extreme nausea
  • The individual may become very sweaty or hot to the touch
  • Tremors
  • Violent behavior towards others

The same symptoms may be the result of a drug withdrawal, but it is very important that if you suspect that someone is experiencing a drug overdose that you rush him or her to the hospital for immediate treatment. Also be on the look out for these symptoms, as they may be the result of drug withdrawals:

  • Cold sweats
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea or other stomach related issues such as abdominal cramping
  • Shaking or tremors
  • The individual may become rather restless
  • Death can even be a part of a drug withdrawal

What Do You Do If Someone Really Is Experiencing Drug Overdose?

The first step when you have confirmed a drug overdose has occurred is to dial 9-1-1 to have emergency personnel come to assist you. While you wait for medical assistance, be sure to perform certain First Aid procedures. These are outlined for you below:

  1. Check the individual’s breathing – has it become very shallow? Also check his or her airway to make sure nothing is blocking them from breathing. Additionally, you will want to check for a pulse. If it becomes necessary and the individual has become unconscious and is not breathing, begin performing CPR. If he or she is breathing but is unconscious, place the person in a safe “recovery” position.
  2. If the person is conscious, make sure that he or she is warm and try to keep them calm until emergency personnel arrive. One important thing to do if you suspect an overdose has occurred is to make sure that no more drugs are taken.
  3. Continue monitoring the individual’s vital signs, such as his or her heart rate, pulse, breathing, etc.) until emergency personnel arrive.
  4. While waiting for help, try to figure out what drug has been taken and when it was taken. Save any information or drugs and provide them to the emergency personnel; this will help them to better treat the individual.

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