An overdose happens when a person takes significantly more than the recommended dose of a drug, medical prescription drug, or alcohol.
The amount of alcohol or drugs required to overdose depends on an individual’s tolerance levels.
An overdose can be either accidental or intentional.
Overdosing can be fatal if emergency medical help is not provided quickly enough.
Common drugs that cause overdose
You can overdose on any kind of prescription medication, drug or alcoholic substance:
- Painkillers or depressants
- Prescription medication
- Stimulant drugs
- Tranquilising drugs or sedatives
- Hallucinogenic drugs
Intentional vs accidental overdose
An accidental overdose can happen to anyone who is unsure of the recommended dosage, or among adults and senior citizens that are taking many medications.
Taking the wrong dose or incorrect medication can happen by mistake.
An intentional overdose happens as a result of an individual wanting to get high, drunk, or making a suicide attempt.
An overdose can happen to anyone, at any time.
Users who have received treatment are at risk of relapse, and relapsing can cause overdose due to a decrease in tolerance levels.
New users are prone to overdose if they are new to drugs and do not know how much to take.
Street drugs are very clearly dangerous – the source of the drugs is unknown and how they are created or what they are cut with.
This can mean that the user cannot guarantee the amount or what it is they are actually consuming.
There were 4,359 deaths related to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2018, the highest number and the highest annual increase (16%) since the time series began in 1993. – ONS
What are the symptoms of overdose?
Symptoms may vary depending on which substance has been taken, but here is a list of the most common symptoms of overdose:
- Difficulty breathing
- Slurred speech
- Unresponsive or slow response
- Lack of coordination
- Irregular pulse
- Low or high body temperature
- Sweating or shivering
- Blue lips or fingertips
- Convulsions and tremors
- Unconsciousness or cannot be woken up
Overdose is incredibly dangerous and the above symptoms can lead to heart, liver or respiratory failure, which is fatal.
If you have these symptoms or witness them in someone, it is vital to seek medical help immediately.
Dial an ambulance on 999.
We can help
Do not let drugs or alcohol rule your life. In one small moment, your whole life can be taken.
Let us help keep you safe.
If you are battling with addiction, or know someone who is abusing alcohol or drugs, then get in touch today to avoid the risk of an overdose.
Talk to a member of our team now on 0808 1150 446
Last Updated on August 5, 2021 by Alison