An overdose occurs when a person takes too much of a substance. Accidental overdoses are a leading cause of death in the US for people between the ages of 35 and 54, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most overdoses are accidental, they can be intentional. Types of overdose include alcohol overdose, which can cause alcohol poisoning, and drug overdose, which occurs when a person takes too much of an illegal drug, a prescription medication, or an over-the-counter medicine.
At Dignity Health, we provide immediate care for all forms of overdose in Arizona, ranging from mild to severe and life threatening. If you are experiencing a life-threatening symptom or signs of a heart attack, immediately call 9-1-1.
For less severe situations that still require a trip to the ER, use our InQuicker™ online tool by selecting your estimated hospital arrival time and wait at home until your time to be seen. Upon arrival and check-in, you will see a doctor who will assess your situation and determine the next appropriate level of care.
The symptoms of overdose depend on the type of substance taken. Mild symptoms of overdose can include:
- Slurred speech
More severe signs may include:
- Difficulty breathing
You should call 9-1-1 right away for any severe overdose symptoms.
Overdose Risk Factors
The following risk factors can increase the likelihood of a drug overdose:
- Using drugs or drinking while alone
- Injection drug use
- Heavy drug use over a short period of time
- Mental health issues, like depression
- Combining drugs and alcohol or mixing different kinds of drugs
- Poor health
- History of drug or alcohol overdose
If you currently take medication for a health problem, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health for support and management.
Overdose Treatment & Prevention at Dignity Health
Treatment for overdose will depend on the type of substance that was taken. If someone has experienced an overdose, call 9-1-1 for medical assistance.
While waiting for medical help, you can do these things:
Dignity Health offers complete care to quickly diagnose and treat an overdose in Arizona, including treatment for alcohol poisoning, accidental drug overdoses, and more.
- Provide comfort and help keep the person calm until emergency responders arrive.
- Try to determine what substance was taken.
- Keep the person from taking any more of the substance.
- If the person is unconscious, perform a check of vital signs (b)reathing and pulse and start CPR, if necessary.
- When CPR is not needed, try to position the person on the side. Keep the person warm.