Today is International Overdose Awareness Day- 8/31/2023



Today is International Overdose Awareness Day, August 31st. Below is a boatload of information about how to be prepared in case of an accidental overdose. My son’s best friend from his rehab experience just died from an accidental overdose. He recently completed his 4th stay in rehab and when he used, he used too much.

The addition of fentanyl to the mix is also very disconcerting. Identification of fentanyl in someone’s drugs is difficult, but there are kits to confirm that a person’s drugs are free of fentanyl.

What experiences to you have with overdose? What is the most important tip you can share with others to help them in an overdose situation?

Stay prepared for emergency response with Naloxone.

Death following opioid overdose is preventable if the person receives basic life support and the timely administration of the opioid antagonist naloxone. Naloxone (also known by it’s brand name Narcan ), which is effectively an antidote to opioid overdose, will completely reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if administered in time.

Naloxone is effective when delivered by intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intranasal routes of administration. Naloxone has virtually no effect in people who have not taken opioids.

Since most overdoses are witnessed by a friend or family member, if a friend or family member had access to naloxone, he or she may be able to reverse the effects of opioid overdose, while waiting for medical care to arrive.

While naloxone administered by bystanders is a potentially life-saving emergency interim response to opioid overdose, it should not be seen as a replacement for comprehensive medical care.

Naloxone works to reverse opioid overdose in the body for only 30 to 90 minutes. But many opioids remain in the body longer than that. Because of this, it is possible for a person to still experience the effects of an overdose after a dose of naloxone wears off.

Also, some opioids are stronger and might require multiple doses of naloxone. Therefore, one of the most important steps to take is to call 911 so the individual can receive immediate medical attention.

How does Naloxone work?

Opioids bind to certain receptors in the brain, like putting a buckle into a seat belt. If the opioid is bound to too many receptors, the person can experience an overdose. Too many opioids cause a person’s breathing to slow, which can lead to coma or death. Naloxone acts as an antagonist, or “blocker”, and kicks the opioid off of those receptors in the brain, or releases the buckle from the seat belt. When enough of the opioid is kicked off, the person becomes responsive and normal breathing is restored.

How to get Naloxone?

You can search the internet for “naloxone in [your town here]”, visit the Naloxone Finder Website to see resources in your area, visit a pharmacy, or ask your doctor. You can also find naloxone at other locations, including many needle exchange programs and community organizations that work with people who use drugs.

:exclamation:Identifying and responding to an overdose

Recognizing an opioid overdose can be difficult. If you aren’t sure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose - you could save a life.

Call 911 or seek medical care for the individual and do not leave the person alone.

Signs of an overdose may include:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Pale, blue, or cold skin

Note: Good Samaritan Laws exist in many states.

In the event of an overdose, these types of policies protect the victim and the person seeking medical help for the victim from drug possession charges.

:link: Resources Recommended by SAMHSA

NOTE: SAMHSA does not specifically endorse any group, and appropriateness should be determined at the local level. Many groups are appropriate for loved ones and family members.

Referrals are encouraged to groups that have received explicit endorsements from those who have been intimately affected by opioid use and overdose.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)**

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Faces & Voices of Recovery

Project Lazarus

Harm Reduction Coalition

Prevent & Protect


I believe that everyone should carry Narcan and know how to use it. I have had to use it twice on my son and in both cases, it saved his life! He is now 4 months sober and thriving!

It is important to understand that Narcan will immediately cause withdrawal symptoms so it is important to still call 911 as additional help may be required.


Thank you @Thinkstet and @PJD for sharing these resources and experience with Narcan. And starting this week, Narcan is now available over the counter without a prescription! Below is a link to learn more about how to access this lifesaving drug:

Buy Narcan Online: Walgreens, CVS and More Stores Roll Out Easier Way to Get Lifesaving Drug


Thanks for the bit about withdrawal symptoms