International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on 31 August each year. Its purpose is to raise awareness of overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends. It was initiated in 2001 in Australia by SJ Finn who was managing a needle and syringe program at The Salvation Army Crisis Centre in St Kilda, Victoria.
5 Important Things To Note
In line with creating awareness around the topic, here are 5 important things to note about drug overdose:
1. A drug overdose is taking too much of a substance, whether it’s prescription, over-the-counter, legal, or illegal. Drug overdoses may be accidental or intentional.
2. An overdose is characterized by slowed breathing and heart rate and a loss of consciousness. Symptoms may vary depending on the person. Enlarged pupils, tremors, convulsions, difficulty walking are all universal symptoms of an overdose.
3. Several factors can increase the risk of a drug overdose. These include: Improper storage of drugs: Making easy targets for small children, who are curious and tend to put things in their mouth. It’s easy for children to get into and accidently overdose on drugs that aren’t properly sealed and stored away from them.
4. Not knowing or following dosage instructions, can lead to an overdose. This is often as a result of self medication. Accidently taking too much or taking your doses sooner than directed can easily lead to an overdose of a drug that is otherwise safe for you.
5. Mental disorders can also be risk factors for a drug overdose. Depression and suicidal thoughts can be overdose triggers. This is especially true if these symptoms are not being treated.
Getting immediate medical assistance can make a whole lot of difference in ensuring the effectiveness of the drug overdose treatment. As such, it is important to seek medical help immediately if you have or witness them in someone else and suspect they may have overdosed.
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