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An overdose occurs when someone has consumed too much of any substance — accidentally or on purpose. Taking a too-high amount of an illegal substance, prescription, or over-the-counter medication, is considered a drug overdose. An alcohol overdose is the consumption of too much alcohol, and can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Overdoses can be mild. However, in many cases, they can be severe and potentially life-threatening. Accidental overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 35 and 54. An overdose of any substance should be evaluated by a medical professional.
If you suspect that someone around you is experiencing an overdose in Northern California, call 911 or seek emergency services at a Dignity Health North State emergency room. Our ER doctors and staff are equipped to handle overdose with personal care. Use our InQuicker tool to select your estimated arrival time to your nearest ER.
Specific signs of an overdose depend on the type of substance and the amount consumed. Mild symptoms can include slurred speech, drowsiness, and unsteadiness.
More severe symptoms include:
If you are unsure if the symptoms you are experiencing or observing are related to an overdose, be cautious and seek evaluation by a medical professional.
The following risk factors increase the chances of an overdose:
Treatment options depend on the specific substances that was taken. Call 911 for medical help immediately if you suspect an overdose.
Do not risk your safety if the person experiencing symptoms of an overdose is aggressive or out of control. However, there are a few things you can do while you wait for medical help to arrive, including:
Are you prepared to take life-saving measures in a medical emergency? To learn how to perform CPR, register for a Dignity Health North State basic life support class by calling 888.628.1948.
Dignity Health North State is here for you and your family in unexpected emergencies, like an accidental overdose, in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.