Author: James Anderson

Drug overdose: Definition, risks, signs, and more

how long does a drug overdose take

A doctor can help recognize the signs of drug overdose and provide treatment recommendations. While most people might think of an overdose relating primarily to illegal drugs, it’s important to remember that overdose can include prescription drugs and even alcohol just as much as illegal substances. WHO supports countries in their efforts to ensure rational use of opioids and  their optimal availability for medical purposes and minimization of their misuse and non-medical use. A drug overdose is taking too much of a substance, whether it’s prescription, over-the-counter, legal, or illegal. If you’ve taken more than the recommended amount of a drug or enough to have a harmful effect on your body’s functions, you have overdosed.

how long does a drug overdose take

When taking a prescription medication, always follow a doctor’s instructions and take the medication exactly as they prescribed it. When in doubt about the correct dosage, consult with a doctor or pharmacist. Addressing a substance use disorder can help decrease the chance of a drug overdose. To avoid an alcohol overdose, avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in a short time.

What Is a Drug Overdose?

Seek immediate medical help by calling 911 or taking them to an emergency unit. If you aren’t sure if someone is overdosing, it’s best to act as if they are by seeking emergency help. These symptoms of stimulant overdose can lead to a seizure, stroke, heart attack, or death. This means you can likely still breathe and function normally in a k-hole from a high dose of ketamine. But due to its ability to make you feel rather legless and blurry, the risk of accident and physical harm is high, so make sure you have friends nearby. “An overdose occurs when someone consumes more of a drug – or multiple drugs – than their body can handle,” Ryan said.

how long does a drug overdose take

For example, overdosing on opioids adversely affects an individual’s ability to breathe. This lack of oxygen can cause organ damage, unconsciousness, and even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that 106,699 people died of a drug overdose in the United States in 2021. Depressants slow down the messages you brain sends to your body.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it attaches to opioid receptors in your body and reverses and blocks the effects of opioids already in your system. Naloxone can restore normal breathing within two to five minutes to a person who’s experiencing an opioid overdose. Signs of a ketamine overdose can include symptoms like difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting, raised blood pressure or heart rate and unconsciousness.

Only half of countries provide access to effective treatment options for opioid dependence and less than 10% of people worldwide in need of such treatment are receiving it (5). Access to naloxone is generally limited to health professionals. In many countries there is still limited availability of naloxone even in medical settings, including in ambulances.

Understanding Drug Overdoses and Deaths

People experiencing an opioid overdose need naloxone (commonly known by the brand name Narcan®). Naloxone can reverse the effects of an overdose if it’s given to the person quickly. The person will still need medical attention after the administration of naloxone. The healthcare provider may be able to use an antidote for certain drug overdoses.

  1. They also perform other tests to assess the health of the person and to look for possible complications.
  2. If they begin vomiting, help them lean forward so they do not choke.
  3. Ketamine is neither a depressant nor a stimulant but a dissociative drug used by doctors and vets as an anaesthetic.

Drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time (binge drinking) can rapidly increase the amount of alcohol in the blood. This makes it difficult for the body to remove alcohol from the bloodstream and can harm other body parts. Individuals experiencing a stimulant overdose should stay hydrated and cool. If they begin to have a seizure, ensure no harmful objects are close to them. Combining different drugs can cause a particularly dangerous overdose. This can lead to breathing difficulties, lowered heart rate, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Risk factors for opioid overdose

In school, a drug overdose sounded terrifying, extremely likely with even one bump, and meant almost certain death, which is simply untrue. An overdose is different for every substance – party or prescription – but what each does to the body is often left out of media reports and high school drug education. If you think someone you love may be using or misusing opioids, talk to your loved one about the dangers of opioids and try to connect them to medical resources. An opioid overdose happens when opioid use causes respiratory depression, which can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Appropriate use and regulation of opioid analgesics ensures that they are available where needed whilst preventing their diversion and harm related to misuse. Males, people of older age and people with low socio-economic status are at higher risk of opioid overdose than women, people of young age groups and people with higher socio-economic status. If you suspect someone may be overdosing, do not leave them alone.