Tips for Preventing Overdose
The best way to not overdose is not to use drugs, but if you do, please follow the below recommendations.
- Know what you are taking, if you don’t call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 or look it up on the net here: http://www.drugs.com/pill_identification.html
- Know the strength of the drug you are taking (Is it 2mg vs. 80mg).
- Know how long the drug will affect you (Is it short acting, long acting or extended release?).
- Don’t mix your drugs (this includes alcohol, benzos, antidepressants, cocaine).
- If you don’t use for a while (couple days, weeks, months) start with a low dose. When you don’t use for a little while your tolerance goes down.
- Use with other people: If something goes wrong they can have your back. Don’t use alone!
- Find out where you can get Naloxone.
People at higher risk of opioid overdose
- People with opioid dependence, in particular following reduced tolerance (following detoxification, release from incarceration, cessation of treatment);
- People who inject opioids;
- People who use prescription opioids, in particular, those taking higher doses;
- People who use opioids in combination with other sedating substances;
- People who use opioids and have medical conditions such as HIV, liver or lung disease or suffer from depression;
household members of people in possession of opioids (including prescription opioids).
People likely to witness an opioid overdose
- People at risk of an opioid overdose, their friends, and families;
- People whose work brings them into contact with people who overdose (health-care workers, police, emergency service workers, people providing accommodation to people who use drugs, peer education and outreach workers).
Risk factors for overdoses with prescribed opioids include a history of substance use disorders, high prescribed dosage (over 100mg of morphine or equivalent daily), male gender, older age, multiple prescriptions including benzodiazepines, mental health conditions, and lower socioeconomic status.