Friday 31st August is approaching which is the International Drug Overdose Awareness Day. Although we remember those who have sadly passed away from drugs every day, the 31st August can be used to share memories of our friends and loved ones who have died from drugs and spread the advice of how to minimise the harm caused by an overdose.
An overdose is when the body cannot handle the effects of alcohol or another drug. This could happen because they take too much or because they take different drugs at the same time. Combining drugs increases the chance of overdose.
An overdose can result in death and non fatal overdoses can still cause permanent damage to the organs. Brain damage can also be caused due to the person not breathing for a period of time or limited oxygen intake. If you can’t get a response from someone, don’t assume they are asleep. Not all overdoses happen quickly and sometimes it can take hours for someone to die. Action taken in those hours could save a life.
If you suspect that someone has overdosed, here is out advice on what to do…
- If someone looks like they’re in trouble or sleeping and can’t be woken after consuming alcohol or using other drugs, it’s very important that they receive medical help as soon as possible – call an ambulance.
- Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives and find out if anyone at the scene knows CPR in case the person stops breathing.
- Ensure the person has adequate air by keeping crowds back and opening windows or taking them outside. Loosen tight clothing.
- If the person is unconscious or wants to lie down, put them in the recovery position by gently rolling them onto their side and slightly tilting their head back. This is to prevent them choking if the vomit and allows them to breathe easily.
- Provide paramedics with as much information as you can, such as how the drug was used, how long ago and any pre-existing medical conditions. If they have taken a drug that came in a packet, give the packet to them.
Post a Tribute
There is a dedicated website for Drug Overdose Awareness Day where anyone can post a tribute to a friend or relative who’s passed away from an overdose, by commemorating them on the following website – https://www.overdoseday.com/tributes-a/post-a-tribute/
Find Out More
More information about International Drug Overdose Awareness day can be found on the NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance website, accessed by clicking here.
Pictured at the top of this blog is the memorial bench in the grounds at Broadway Lodge which is a place to reflect and think about those who have lost their lives to addiction.