How Does an Overdose Happen and What Are the Signs?

Every day someone survives the cycle of addiction has to be considered nothing short of a miracle. The fact is there\’s nothing good that can come from taking drugs or drinking alcohol on a regular basis. What can happen is a long list of really bad things with a drug overdose and perhaps death being the worst things from that list.

Here are some hard facts about drug overdoses as provided by the Centers for Disease Control in 2017. That year, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, which made drug overdose the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. To point out the significance of that number, there were approximately 702,000 drug overdose deaths in the US from 1999 to 2017. Translated, ten percent of those deaths occurred in the most recent year alone over the 19 year period. The number is rising at an alarming rate. What\’s driving today\’s drug overdose death numbers are prescription and illicit opiates like heroin, fentanyl, and painkillers, which accounted for 68% of the deaths in 2017.

As a nation, we all have to be concerned about the collateral damage that\’s being caused in our communities by drug abuse. It\’s time to admit the 1980s \”war on drugs\” was a bust, and we have to collectively come up with a new plan of attack to stop drugs from killing our people.

What can be done here is to educate people about drug overdoses. The following discussion will center how drug overdose happen and how to recognize the signs someone is overdosing.

How Does an Overdose Happen and What Are the Signs?

First, we have to accept the fact that some people will attempt to kill themselves with drugs. Suicide is a serious problem unto itself and for some people, a drug overdose is an easy way out. If someone you know is suffering from severe depression or anxiety, you should reach out your hand and see if you can be of service.

The causation of drug overdoses this discussion will center on is the accidental causes. This is what happens to people who are abusing drugs but take things a step further than they intended.

It starts with the drug user who is fairly new to the game. Without any reasonable way of knowing how their body is going to metabolize a powerful drug like heroin or fentanyl, it\’s very easy for the novice drug user to misjudge how much their body can withstand. The mistake doesn\’t have to be big for the resulting problem to be big. This is one of the main reasons fentanyl is killing people. The drug is 10 times more potent that heroin and a whole lot of people aren\’t aware of that.

For the more experienced drug users, those considered to be addiction sufferers, overdoses occur for one of two reasons. First, the drug user starts ramping up the number of drugs they are taking per dose in an effort to get the desired effect. If they go too far, it\’s very easy to increase the toxicity levels in the body to the point a drug overdose occurs.

The second reason addiction sufferers fall victim to drug overdoses is by sheer miscalculation. While many users have a routine they use to maintain the \”high\” they want, they can get lost in the process. If they get lost or confused about their scheduled drug use, they risk taking doses too close together time-wise. That could potentially overwhelm their body with the substance the user is abusing.

It\’s important that everyone has some idea of what a drug overdose looks like. With that kind of knowledge, thee\’s always a possibility life could be saved. To begin with, the signs of a drug overdose may vary a little based on the drug that was taken. With that said, there are some general signs of overdose that would be apparent with almost any substance. The most common signs of an overdose include:

  • Severe difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, or complete cessation of breath
  • Severe chest pain
  • Abnormally high body temperature
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Loss of motor control
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Convulsions and tremors

If you see anyone exhibiting these signs, call 911 and help in any way you can.

If you have a significant addiction problem, the potential for a drug overdose is always there. We would like to help you arrest your addiction before things go too far. Please give us a call at 833-610-1174 and let us tell you about our treatment services.

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