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Drug Overdose Treatment

An overdose is when someone takes so much of a drug that it puts them at risk of serious injury or death, unless they immediately receive drug overdose treatment. In 2019, the CDC recorded more than 71,000 deaths from drug overdoses. A total of 68% of these deaths were from prescription or illegal opioids. 

15 Minutes Read | Published Oct 05 2023 | Updated Oct 05 2023

More than 100 Americans die every day from drug overdoses. In fact, it is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the country. Luckily, if administered quickly enough, drug overdose treatment can prevent most, if not all, of these deaths.

What Drugs Can You Overdose On?

The word “overdose” is usually associated with illegal drugs. However, there are many substances on which humans can overdose. Essentially any drug can cause an overdose.

Although overdose from opioids such as oxycodonehydrocodone, and morphine cause the most fatalities in the US, patients also commonly overdose on benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Valium. These are prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, among others.

People can also overdose on alcohol, as well as stimulants like meth and cocaine. Even something as relatively harmless as caffeine can be harmful in the wrong amounts. Thousands of people also overdose on sleeping aids and various prescription pills each year.

What Are Drug Overdose Signs?

The symptoms of substance overdose are different, depending on the drug, the person who took the substance, and the amount. However, some of the general or most common signs of an overdose include the following:

  • Aggression
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Convulsions
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in speaking or slurred speech
  • Difficulty in standing up or walking
  • Delirium
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Blue lips
  • Unconsciousness

In worse cases and when people fail to get proper medical attention, cases of overdose can result in brain damage, organ damage, and even death.

Why Do People Overdose?

There is no clear-cut reason as to why people actually overdose on drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Sometimes, they are chasing a certain emotion that they think only drugs can give them. As their bodies get used to the substance, more and more of it is needed to achieve the same effect. Eventually, this results in an overdose.

Accidental Overdose

An overdose can be accidental or intentional. Accidental overdose occurs when someone does not intend to take a fatal amount of a substance, or even when they did not intentionally consume a drug at all. Accidental overdose is most common among children, teenagers, college-aged adults, the elderly, and those with severe addictions, but it can definitely happen to everyone.

Improper storage is one of the common culprits of drug overdose. This is particularly for young children who are in that stage in life when anything and everything can trigger their curiosity. For adults, accidental overdose can happen due to incorrect or too frequent dosing.

Intentional Overdose

Meanwhile, intentional overdose occurs when someone deliberately  takes enough of a drug in a suicide attempt. Intentional overdose is common in people who have a history of mental  disorders, trauma, substance misuse, or addiction. The risk increases if the person takes different kinds of drugs or combines them with alcohol. Mental disorders, especially if they are not treated, are also considered risk factors for substance overdose. Depression can be a trigger for overdose, particularly when the patient has already considered suicidal thoughts.

Post-Rehab Overdose

People who have undergone detox programs and rehabilitation often quickly overdose when they relapse because their bodies have already lost their tolerance to the drug. When they take the same amount that they did before they went into rehab, their bodies cannot handle it, and they overdose.

Finding Treatment for Overdose

The exact treatment required for a drug overdose depends on the drug. In many cases, treatment includes clearing the airway to ease the patient’s breathing and inducing vomiting to expel the substance. There are also instances when the patient is given activated charcoal, which absorbs the drug from the digestive tract.

Doctors or emergency responders can also pump the patient’s stomach or else give intravenous fluids or laxatives to the patient. These procedures can help speed up the excretion of the substance from the body. There are also certain antidotes for some drugs, such as Naloxone (also known as NarCan). Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids and is an effective solution for a heroin overdose.

Further procedures such as blood and urine tests, x-rays, CT scans, and EKGs may also be recommended or required. This is to ensure that the drugs have been fully flushed from the patient’s body.

For intentional overdose cases, the best solution is to look for addiction treatment and rehabilitation after the overdose has been treated. This way, a group of professionals work with the patient to ensure their proper recovery and prevent further incidents of overdose.

Signs of Potential Overdose and When to Seek Help

In case of overdose, you need to contact emergency services immediately. The person may look fine and not exhibit any symptoms, but they may just be delayed. Bringing the patient to a hospital as soon as possible can spell the difference between life and death. It can also prevent damage to the patient’s brain, liver, kidneys, and other organs. Even if nothing ultimately happens, it’s still best to have medical professionals nearby to offer support.

Intentional overdose can be trickier to handle. The same immediate procedures or antidotes can be applied for the short term; however, other long-term treatments may be needed if the person chronically misuses drugs and other substances. Quitting “cold turkey” may be effective for those who aren’t addicted yet but the same method may are unlikely to work for those who have used and abused drugs for a longer time.

In the case of the latter, make sure to get in touch with a doctor. They can help you find the right psychiatric treatment or a facility that can provide better overdose treatment and addiction recovery.

Why Better Addiction Care Is the Best Choice for Drug Overdose Treatment

Better Addiction Care or BAC has a free advisory service to help you or your loved ones find the best treatment options for addiction, as well as drug and alcohol overdose. 

We understand that you may have a difficult time when it comes to looking for the best place and professionals to handle your concerns. You can count on us to give you all the time you need to understand your concerns and find the best solutions.

What’s great about us here at Better Addiction Care is that we have a wide network of the best rehabilitation and treatment facilities across the United States. Whether you want to recover at your home state or somewhere else entirely, we can help you find the most ideal place. 

BAC also works with hundreds of healthcare professionals to ensure that you or your loved ones receive continuous patient care. We don’t stop once the treatment process is completed. Rather, we provide you with the support you need as long as you need it. Whether that’s therapy or specialized treatment, BAC will make sure that you have access to everything you need to fully recover.

Dual Diagnosis and Sober Living with Better Addiction Care

There are times when a person struggles with both addiction and mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. This makes patients more prone to overdosing and substance abuse. At BAC, you or your loved one can undergo dual diagnosis, so that these conditions can be treated at once. This way, the recovery is more holistic even if it can take a little longer.

Of course, Better Addiction Care understands that there is no cookie-cutter solution for overdosing, addiction, and mental illnesses. That’s why we work together with various specialists so that the patient can be matched with the treatment plans most suited to individual needs.

Sober Living Options with Better Addiction Care

Better Addiction Care also has connections with various sober living homes nationwide. These locations are guaranteed to be comfortable and ideal for those who are recovering from overdose and substance abuse. We do our best to find the best facility for your unique situation; we also have specialists who are always ready to help you transition back to normal everyday life. 

The journey can be quite tough, but with ample support from friends, family, and health professionals, recovery is not just possible but also well within reach.

BAC also offers drug detox programs to help beat addiction. Along with this, we also have counseling available. Combined, these can help a patient to break free of addiction and fight the temptation of overdosing. Our network of rehab centers and other facilities provide constant support, along with opportunities to talk with counselors. This helps create a positive environment, which can hasten a patient’s recovery. 

You can count on us and our commitment to providing our clients with the best cost-effective solutions to help patients along their journey towards sobriety.

Get Help With Better Addiction Care Today 

If you or your loved ones are ready to fight and recover from addiction and overdose, give BAC a call at (800) 429-7690. We’ll provide you with free advice to help you get started on your journey to get your life back on track.


As a part of the Better Addiction Care family, you can rest assured that you will always receive the care that you deserve and need.


bullet CDC
"America’s Drug Overdose Epidemic: Putting Data to Action"
Retrieved on September 28, 2020

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