An overdose or OD can occur after intentionally or unintentionally consuming too much of a toxic substance. You can overdose after taking the wrong dose of a prescribed medication or drinking too much alcohol. An overdose can cause slight changes in the body or it can be a life-threatening emergency. For severe cases of overdose, call 911 or seek immediate medical care.
If you suspect an overdose and have mild symptoms, such as drowsiness, unsteadiness, and slurred speech, visit an emergency department at Dignity Health. To stay at home while you wait for treatment, use our online waiting tool InQuicker. Our emergency services staff is trained to treat mild or severe cases of drug overdose in Southern California.
Symptoms of an Overdose & When to Seek Emergency Care
The symptoms of a drug overdose can vary depending on the substance consumed. Symptoms of a major overdose always require immediate emergency care.
If you experience or recognize the following symptoms in someone, dial 911:
Causes of Overdose
In the US, unintentional overdoses are a leading cause of death for adults between 35 and 54. Some people have a higher risk of overdosing on a drug.
Known risk factors for both accidental and nonaccidental drug overdose include:
- Mixing substances, such as drugs and alcohol
- Mental health issues, such as depression
- Heavy drug use over a short timeframe
- History of drug or alcohol abuse
- Injection drug use
- Drinking or using drugs alone
You can reduce the risk for accidental drug overdose by keeping medication out of children’s reach and strictly following directions on the drug label.
How to Care for Someone with a Drug Overdose
A drug overdose needs to be treated quickly for the best outcome. To help someone with a drug overdose, dial 911 and follow these tips:
- Check the injured person’s pulse and breathing. If necessary, start and continue CPR until medical help arrives.
- Try to collect containers, equipment, or vomit to give to medical personnel once they arrive. This will help doctors treat the injured person better.
- If possible, position the victim on their side and prevent them from taking any more of the substance.
Trust compassionate doctors at one of our convenient locations in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and in Inland Empire cities San Bernardino, Fontana, and Highland to treat and help prevent overdoses with kindness and honesty.
Emergency services at Dignity Health treat moderate and severe cases of overdose in Southern California.