Urgent Help
IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? Are you or others in danger? Do you need an ambulance or the police? 24 HOURS
Lifeline 24 hour phone line for crisis support and suicide prevention. 24 HOURS
13YARN 24 hour crisis phone line support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 24 HOURS

Understanding overdose

If a suspected overdose is occurring call 000 and wait with the person. Don’t let worrying about getting in trouble stop you from calling an ambulance in an emergency.

Taking too much of a drug; or mixing different drugs can lead to overdose.

It is very hard to know exactly how much is too much as it depends on the substance, the situation and the person.

Heroin overdose is the most common but it is not the only drug that can cause death. Mixing drugs can be really dangerous because your body can respond in unpredictable ways. If you are drinking a lot or taking benzos with other drugs your chance of overdose is higher.

If you haven’t used drugs for a few days your tolerance will be less. This means that, if you use your usual dose you could overdose, even though you normally can use that amount. The same thing can happen if you relapse (use again after stopping) – if you have been through withdrawal using the dose you would have before withdrawal could kill you.

Remember never to use alone.

Signs of overdose

If you think someone might have overdosed ask them if they have taken anything and look for these signs:

• Collapse
• Continuous vomiting
• Blue lips and nails
• Choking and gurgling
• Seizure
• Fewer than four breaths per minute
• For suspected opioid overdoses administer Naloxone