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Drug Overdose: How To Recognize It And How To Prevent It


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The leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. is drug overdose. In 2015 alone, up to 52,404 people died of a drug overdose, a number which increased to 64,000 in 2016.

More Americans died in the opioid epidemic in 2016 than they did during the entire Vietnam War.

Fortunately, by recognizing the symptoms of an overdose and taking preventative initiatives, we can reduce the number of overdose deaths across the United States.

How To Recognize An Overdose

An overdose happens when you use a certain amount of a drug and your body reacts negatively to it. The key factors that influence the effects of an overdose on the body include height, weight, age, tolerance levels, hydration, and physical health.

Although the symptoms of overdose depend on the drug that's taken, the most common signs include:

  • Convulsions
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Agitation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Sleepiness
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Visual or audial hallucinations

Overdose is especially common in those addicted to heroin. This is because heroin is not only difficult to measure but also because those addicted develop a tolerance over time.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms after taking a drug, it's important to contact emergency services immediately.

How To Prevent An Overdose

One way to prevent overdose is to have direct access to Naloxone. Naloxone reverses an opioid overdose by removing the opioids from the brain's receptors.

Naloxone doesn't have any harmful side effects and only affects the opioids inside the body. The rescue drug can be injected or used as a nasal spray and reverses the effects of both heroin and opioid painkillers.

In some states, naloxone is available through retail pharmacies via prescription. Many states have recently passed laws to increase the availability of the drug to prevent overdose.

The other way to prevent overdose is to seek treatments for addiction.

Substance abuse disorder affects the brain by making you feel compulsive urges to use an addictive substance. It can also cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms once you stop using an addictive substance.

Methadone treatments are historically and clinically proven to help treat addiction. Methadone works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, thereby preventing the effects of the substance. Methadone also blocks the brain's pain receptors to reduce the pain of withdrawal symptoms.

It's for this reason that methadone treatment programs are one of the best treatments for addiction. In fact, those who go through methadone treatment programs have a 60% to 90% success rate. For more information on treatments for addiction and how methadone can help, contact your local methadone rehab center today.

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