“On this International Overdose Awareness Day, we remember the lives lost and families impacted at the hands of a drug poisoning or overdose death. These losses are the result of the ruthless criminal networks who flood our country with their dangerous and deadly poison. Today, and every day, we stand in support and with deep appreciation of our partners in public health and law enforcement who serve on the front lines every day working to prevent drug poisonings. We remain committed to our role in this fight to save lives by stopping fentanyl and other deadly drugs from impacting communities across America.”
DEA Administrator Anne Milgram
What is an Overdose?
An overdose can happen when the body is overwhelmed by a toxic amount of substance or combination of substances. It’s possible to overdose on many substances if they are abused, including alcohol, illicit drugs, and even prescribed medication.
What Are the Signs of Overdose & Overdose Symptoms?
The physical and psychological signs of a drug overdose can vary depending on the type of drug taken and whether the drug was taken in combination with other substances.
Common signs and symptoms of a drug overdose can include:
Dilated pupils, Nausea or vomiting, Headache, Chest pain.
Seizures, Convulsions or tremors, blue lips or fingers, abnormally high body temperature.
Severe difficulty breathing, shallow breathing, or complete cessation of breath.
Gurgling sounds that indicate the person’s airway is blocked.
Violent or aggressive behavior, Paranoia, Agitation.
Disorientation or confusion, Unresponsiveness, Unconsciousness.
Depressants and Opioids
A depressant is a drug that slows the vital activities of the body including breathing and the heart rate.
Barbiturates Drug Factsheet
Benzodiazepines Drug Factsheet
Opioids, slow the central nervous system to produce a calming effect.
Fentanyl Drug Factsheet
Heroin Drug Factsheet
When taken in access amounts or in combination, they can depress normal functions such as breathing and heart rate until breathing and the heart rate eventually stop.