International Overdose Awareness Day

Overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, even exceeding the number of fatalities in road traffic accidents according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With stats like that, overdose is obviously a major problem, but one that isn’t often addressed.

International Overdose Awareness Day, held on August 31, calls this national problem to the forefront of our minds and reminds us to reflect on the tragedy of overdose deaths and focus on ways such deaths can be prevented in the future.

California enacts the Good Samaritan Law

While International Overdose Awareness Day is observed around the world, the state of California has been a leader in the effort to curb the overdose crisis here in the United States.

People often die from overdose because they don’t get immediate medical attention. Those who dial 911 or try to get care for someone who overdoses are subject to prosecution for their own use, possession, or distribution. Research shows that people consistently list “fear of arrest” as the number one reason they hesitate or fail to call 911 when they are with someone who overdoses.

To combat this fear, the state of California enacted an Overdose Prevention Act, also called the Good Samaritan Law, which grants immunity from prosecution to drug users summoning help for an overdose. This protection is intended to encourage bystanders to seek help when someone overdoses without fearing prosecution.

The law went into effect January 1, 2013, when California joined 9 other states who have already enacted legislation aimed at curbing the national overdose crises.

What to do while you’re waiting for help

Calling 911 is the first and most important thing you can do for a friend who is showing symptoms of drug overdose, but it usually takes several minutes for a medical team to arrive. These few minutes are the most crutial for someone who has overdosed.

The following are some guidelines to care for someone who has overdosed as you wait for the emergency response team to arrive.

  • Stay with them.
  • If they appear unconscious, try to get a response from them
  • If you can’t get a response, place the person into the recovery position.
  • Try to move them somewhere cooler and quieter. Or try to make the place quieter.
  • Don’t ignore gurgling or snoring. Snoring and gurgling can mean a person is having trouble breathing, and you should try to wake this person immediately.

What happens next? Is 911 enough?

The team of medical personnel will help your friend or loved one on the way towards physical stability and recovery. But physical stability, or even detox, is not enough. The obvious physical problems are only the symptoms of a much deeper issue—their addiction itself.

Medical treatment may remove the danger of life-threatening conditions, but these treatments do not remove the desire to use—and possibly overdose again. To live a full and successful life, those struggling with addiction need to address the underlying issues that lead to the addiction in the first place.

Your friend or loved one needs treatment.

Many times the occurrence of an overdose is the tipping point in an addict’s life—the rock bottom that forces them to see the severity of drug use and the reality of their addiction. For family and friends, this may be the prime time to bring your loved one into a drug rehabilitation facility.

With a legacy of passion and success, Duffy’s can help your friend or loved one break the bonds of addiction to find hope and freedom. We believe in the beauty of the human potential the ability to achieve change no matter where they are in life.

“You know, there’s always hope. As long as you’re breathing, there’s hope that you can come in and have a new life.” —Amy, Duffy’s counselor

If you or a loved one are ready to start a new life, please call us today. 707.348.4874