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Opioid Overdose

Opioid Overdose Basics

Prescription opioids (like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine) and illicit opioids (like heroin and illegally made fentanyl) are powerful drugs that have a risk of a potentially fatal overdose. Anyone who uses opioids can experience an overdose, but certain factors may increase risk, including:

Signs and Symptoms of an Opioid Overdose

During an overdose, breathing can be dangerously slowed or stopped, causing brain damage or death. It’s important to recognize the signs and act fast. Signs include:

What to Do if You Think Someone Is Overdosing

It may be hard to tell if a person is high or experiencing an overdose. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to treat it like an overdose—you could save a life.

  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. Administer naloxone, if available.
  3. Try to keep the person awake and breathing.
  4. Lay the person on his or her side to prevent choking.
  5. Stay with him or her until emergency workers arrive.

Death from an opioid overdose happens when too much of the drug overwhelms the brain and interrupts the body’s natural drive to breathe.

To learn more about opioids to protect yourself and your loved ones from opioid abuse, addiction, and overdose, visit these resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Opioid Overdose: CDC.gov/DrugOverdose

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: SAMHSA.gov

Health Resources and Services Administration: FindAHealthCenter.HRSA.gov

Source: FDA.gov

February 23, 2019



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