There are a number of potentially harmful myths circulating about drug overdose. This false information can be deadly if believed and acted on. Here are some of the most common myths, as well as the truth.
MYTH 1: “I’ve been an addict for years. Drug overdose won’t happen to me.”
This may be the most dangerous myth of all. The truth is that users cannot actually control the effects of their addictive drug(s). Even if they have been using about the same dose for years doesn’t mean that an overdose couldn’t happen. If powerful drugs are involved, a risk of overdose exists with every use.1
Many people aren’t aware that body chemistry changes over time. Yesterday’s “safe dose” could be tomorrow’s overdose. Medical illnesses can develop – sometimes without warning – and create complications.
To make matters worse, some users take more than one type of drug at a time without the doctor’s knowledge. Some take the next dose too soon. Some try to play “catch up” on a missed dose.
Patients should be aware that if a dose in a daily regimen is missed – even for one day – that can alter the body’s tolerance. When this happens, the next dose could result in a drug overdose.2
MYTH 2: “It’s easy to treat a drug overdose.”
Just drink some milk or coffee, take a shower or walk around for a while. If none of these do the trick, then take some naloxone.
This myth is also disturbing. It means that people who have a shot at surviving a drug overdose might receive medical help too late. Friends or family members might think they are doing their loved one a favor by helping avoid a hospital visit, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Despite their good intentions, such decisions often turn out to be tragic.
Furthermore, there is no home remedy that can help a patient reverse the effects of a drug. Without expert medical care, there is no way to address an overdose consistently and successfully.3
Then there’s the issue of naloxone. While it’s true that this drug is often used by medical staff to help stop the effects of a drug overdose, it only works for a brief period. Of course, it must be used correctly and in the right dose.
Naloxone is only to be used when the drug of overdose is an opiate, like heroin, or some other opioid, like oxycodone. In the case of a polydrug (mixed drug) overdose, naloxone probably won’t remedy the situation.
MYTH 3: “I won’t overdose if my friends are there with me.”
The issue here is that those who abuse drugs with friends may not have any capable, clear-headed, help available to watch over the situation. If surrounded by people who are either too high to notice what’s happening or too scared or physically unable to call for help, then the approach proposed by this myth is faulty…and, in some cases, deadly.
Again, if a home remedy is applied, that ill-advised attempt may eliminate any chance of recovery.4
TRUTH: Overdose Can Happen to Any User
The appropriate way to handle a drug overdose is to get the experienced and professional help that is needed…and quickly. This will give you or your loved one the best chance at averting a tragic outcome.1
Contact us at Michael’s House today on our 24/7 toll-free line, 760.548.4032. We would be happy to provide you with more information. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about drugs, addiction and all that we have to offer, including our alcohol rehab program.
1 “Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction.” DrugFacts, National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2016.Web. Accessed 30 July 2017.
2 “Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016. Web. Accessed 30 July 2017.
3 “Self-medication: A Current Challenge.” Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy, Volume 5, Issue Number 1, Pages 19-23, December 2013-February 2014.Web. Accessed 30 July 2017.
4 “When Your Friend Overdoses on Drugs.” Just Think Twice, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.Web. Accessed 30 July 2017.