Recognizing an Overdose
If you are with someone who has overdosed, call 911 immediately.
Someone may have overdosed if they:
- can’t stay awake, walk or talk
- are breathing slowly or not at all
- have a limp body
Other signs of overdose include:
- not responding to noise or knuckles being rubbed hard on their breastbone
- snoring or gurgling sounds
- pale or blue skin – especially on their nail beds and lips – and they feel cold
- tiny pupils (pinpoint) or their eyes are rolled back
Who is at risk of an opioid overdose
You are at risk of an opioid overdose if you:
- are taking prescription opioids that were not prescribed to you and could be too strong for you
- are buying opioids from the street and you don’t know how strong they are
- have bought street drugs that are laced with opioids
- have overdosed on opioids before
- are mixing your opioids with other downers like alcohol or benzos (e.g. Valium, Xanax)
- have stopped using opioids for a while, which has lowered your tolerance
- have just been released from jail and haven’t used opioids in a while
- are using opioids by yourself
How to prevent an opioid overdose
- Keep prescription opioids away from children, youth and other adults in your home.
- Don’t give anyone your prescription opioids or take opioids prescribed for someone else.
- Don’t mix drugs or take drugs with alcohol.
- Don’t use opioids alone.
- If you switch to a stronger opioid, use less and do a test dose.
- If you’re using opioids after cutting down or not using for a while, start low and go slow.