6 Ways to Prevent an Accidental Drug Overdose

Most cases of drug overdoses are accidental, and happen more frequently than you might suspect. Some people accidentally overdose after taking just one extra pill to combat pain, or after combining their drugs with alcohol and other substances for recreation. Knowing more about how to prevent an accidental drug overdose can help save your life, or that of a loved one who suffers from drug abuse.

If you or someone you care about is suffering from addiction, understand that help is just one phone call away. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-934-1582(Who Answers?) to speak with a drug abuse counselor about nearby rehab centers devoted to helping you or your loved one overcome addiction.

Here are six ways to prevent an accidental drug overdose, and keep you and your loved ones safe from the dangers associated with addiction.

1. Use As Directed

The instructions on prescription drug labels exist for safety reasons, and to prevent overdoses. Some drugs work by releasing slowly into your body over several hours, while other drugs act quickly and cause immediate effects. This means that using drugs incorrectly can cause an overdose, or reduce their effectiveness.

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Only use drugs as directed, and don’t double up on doses unless instructed to do so by your doctor.

2. Don’t Share Your Drugs

Accidental Drug Overdose

Don’t accept drugs that aren’t prescribed to you for any reason.

The doses of your prescription drugs are tailored specifically for you based on your health and medical history. Sharing your drugs with others can cause them to overdose or experience major health problems, especially if they use other substances. Plus, a dose intended for you could be far too strong for another, and lead to overdose or death.

Never offer your prescription drugs to others, and keep addictive drugs such as opioid painkillers locked away from family and friends.

3. Just Say No

Refuse drugs offered to you by friends and family when you’re experiencing pain, depression, or another condition that can be treated using drugs. A normal dose for someone else could cause you to overdose, or react adversely with another drug in your body. Don’t hesitate to say no — especially when offered opioid painkillers, which can lead to an overdose or addiction.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

4. Know the Active Ingredient

Active ingredients are the ingredients in drugs that make them effective. For instance, most drugs used by those with diabetes contain insulin as the active ingredient. Knowing the active ingredients in the drugs you’re taking can prevent you from taking two drugs with the same ingredient — resulting in a double dose and increasing the risk for an overdose.

5. Don’t Mix Substances

Combining alcohol with drugs can be fatal, as can combining different types of drugs. For instance, combining alcohol and heroin can lead to coma and death, since both substances slow respiratory function. Never mix substances, and always check with your doctor before mixing certain drugs with other drugs or alcohol.

6. Know the Quality and Purity

Drugs purchased on the street or from overseas are commonly low in quality and impure — meaning the substances may contain fillers and harmful ingredients that have adverse effects on the human body. Just one batch of counterfeit pills sold on the streets can cause several overdose deaths. Stay away from drugs that come from unknown sources, and seek help if you suffer from addiction and want to stop using.

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Drug overdoses can be prevented as long as you take drugs responsibly, and keep your supply safely locked away from children, friends, and family. Certain types of drugs can also lead to physical dependence, and problems with addiction later on.

If you have a problem with addiction or substance abuse, understand that getting help now can potentially save your life. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-934-1582(Who Answers?) to learn more about drug rehab centers that can guide you safely and comfortably to improved health and sobriety.

the Take-Away

If you’ve been prescribed a narcotic for pain or other health condition, it’s imperative that you learn how to avoid an accidental drug overdose.