DRUG OVERDOSE: FACTS

A drug is any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that,
when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the
tongue causes a physiological change in the body.
In pharmacology, a pharmaceutical drug, also called a medication or medicine, is a chemical
substance used to treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose a disease or to promote wellbeing.
[2] Traditionally, drugs were obtained through extraction from medicinal plants, but more
recently also by organic synthesis.
[4] Pharmaceutical drugs may be used for a limited duration, or on
a regular basis for chronic disorders.
The term drug overdose, popularly known as OD, describes the ingestion or application of a drug or
other substance in quantities greater than are recommended
[1] or generally practiced.
[2] An overdose
may result in a toxic state or death.
[2]
The range of medicines available without a prescription varies from country to country.
Let’s Talk Drug Overdose, There are 2 types:
• Accidental: Usually of prescribed medication or too much illegal substance to get a higher
fix.
• Intentional: abuse of alcohol, illegal drugs or prescribed medication usually aimed at
committing suicide.
Persistence of abuse increases the risk of an overdose.
Tolerance: body conditioning of gradual increase of substance abuse such that the individual
requires a higher dose than previously used to get ‘high’.
Drug naïve: a new drug user requiring small amount or dose of substance to get high.
Symptoms of Drug Overdose: Unsteady walking, chest pain, difficulty/ shallow breathing up to
complete cessation of breathing, gurgling sound indicating airway is blocked, blue lips/fingers,
extremes of temperature( too hot/ too cold), violent/ aggressive behaviour, confusion, convulsion,
unresponsiveness, unconsciousness, death.
What to do: Seek immediate medical attention, check breathing and heart rates (if not breathing,
turn them on their side, if breathing is slow, do CPR if qualified to do so), keep the person verbally
engaged with questions to assess and ensure their alertness, restrain the person from taking any
more of the substance.
Suicide helpline: Nigeria suicide prevention initiative +2348062106493, +2348092106493
References
• “Drug”. Dictionary.com Unabridged. v 1.1. Random House. 20 September 2007 – via
Dictionary.com.
• Atanasov AG, Waltenberger B, Pferschy-Wenzig EM, Linder T, Wawrosch C, Uhrin P, Temml
V, Wang L, Schwaiger S, Heiss EH, Rollinger JM, Schuster D, Breuss JM, Bochkov V,
Mihovilovic MD, Kopp B, Bauer R, Dirsch VM, Stuppner H (December 2015). “Discovery and
resupply of pharmacologically active plant-derived natural products: A review”. Biotechnol
Adv. 33 (8): 1582–614. PMC 4748402
. PMID 26281720. doi:10.1016/j.biotechadv.2015.08.001
• Definitions Retrieved on 20 September 2014.
• “Stairway to Recovery: Glossary of Terms”.

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