Numerous deaths have been attributed to drug overdose and even more people are still reported dying from the problem. It affects both young and old and can be the result of different factors. Overdose can happen at any time. What happens when there is a drug overdose and what can you do to deal with it?
Understanding Drug Overdose
Put simply, drug overdose refers to excessive amount of a drug. It occurs when an individual takes an amount of a medication or substance that is higher than the recommended level. It could be an accidental or an intentional act. However, people react differently to drugs. The amount that might be considered safe for a person can produce unpleasant reactions in another due to differences in sensitivity. Factors that determine the likelihood of an overdose (and differences in sensitivity) include:
• Health status
• Level of hydration in the body
There are usually unpleasant side effects when there is an overdose and the particular ones that are observed will depend on the particular drugs taken. The symptoms of an overdose include:
• Breathing difficulties
Depressants such as heroin may cause you not to wake, even when kicked, due to their ability to slow heartbeat and breathing rates. Cocaine and other stimulants produce dire consequences, including deaths. While the focus is commonly on recreational drugs when talking about overdose, even prescription medications that are thought to be safe also give rise to cases of overdose, with some of these leading to deaths.
Overdose Can Strike at Any Time
Perhaps, the scariest thing about overdoses is that they can happen at any time, regardless of the type of drug that is involved. As previously mentioned, people react differently to drugs. An overdose can occur to a person after using illicit drug for a long time. It can even happen to someone who is just experimenting with a substance for the first time. So you need to watch it whenever you are considering the use of a drug. The consequences can be overwhelming.
Dealing with an Overdose
It is important to maintain your calm if there is an overdose. Do not panic! An overdose doesn’t lead to death in all cases. The drug naloxone can be easily used to deal with the problem in some cases, such as when opiate substances are involved. But if the side effects of your overdose are severe or you are worried, you should not waste time to seek medical attention.
You are very likely to need professional help with certain drugs because the receptors involved have not yet been identified, so there is no specific antidote for them. Ecstasy, cocaine and alcohol are some of the drugs of abuse that would require more targeted treatment to be dealt with when there is an overdose. The affected person should be placed on his or her side while the arrival of a medical emergency team is expected.
As can be observed from the foregoing, treatment for an overdose will depend on the drug involved. The dose of the drug, how it was taken, and what it was taken with will also be considered in determining appropriate medical care. To this end, full medical assessment may need to be done before deciding on the best course of action. The most effective way to guard against overdose from illicit drugs remains to avoid using them at all.