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There are many negative consequences to drug abuse. Drug addiction controls people's lives, it changes individuals and their relationships, and it can even lead to death. Drug overdose can happen intentionally or accidentally by someone using drugs, and it is often a tragic consequence to drug abuse.
Nearly every substance can cause a dangerous overdose, but certain drugs are more dangerous and can more easily lead to death. Opioids such as heroin, and benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium are the most commonly abused drugs that can be fatal when overused.
Symptoms of Drug Overdose
The symptoms of drug overdose vary by individual and by the type of drug that is used. The most common side effects are changes in heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. Extreme drowsiness, confusion, and coma are often caused by an overdose, as well as aspiration of fluid into the lungs, abdominal pain, chest pain, and nausea. When the human body is infused with toxic levels of a drug, the organs can quickly shut down and the body simply can't function anymore, which is why overdoses are so often fatal.
Treatment for Drug Overdose
A drug overdose is a very dangerous situation. Because it can so quickly lead to death, the first action someone should take when they suspect a drug overdose is to call 911. Immediate medical attention is usually necessary, and stomach pumping, a round of activated charcoal to bind the drug, and even antidote medications can be administered by medical staff, if necessary.
A program that began in New York City and has now spread to other areas arms friends and loved ones of heroin addicts with an antidote for heroin overdose. The drug, Naloxone, has been used in the medical community for years and just recently has been approved for use by civilians. Because heroin addicts can quickly and fatally overdose, advocates for the program have found that teaching a loved one how to administer Naloxone in an emergency saves many lives.
Drug Addiction Treatment
Of course, if someone overdoses on illicit or prescription drugs, there is some underlying issue going on. Sometimes individuals in a compromised mental state will overdose accidentally on their prescription medications. More often, especially in fatal cases, the individual will have had a history of drug abuse or addiction. In these cases, getting the person to a drug rehab facility is necessary, because if someone overdoses on drugs they are abusing, they are much more likely to overdose a second and third time, if they survive.
The best hope for someone who has overdosed on a substance they are addicted to is to go through a residential treatment program. This will allow the person to recover in a safe setting, supervised by professional staff, to keep them from overdosing again. After the individual has detoxed from their substance, they can begin counseling and therapy to get back to living a sober life again.
Drug overdose is not something to be taken lightly. It can often be fatal, which is just one reason it is so important to get help for a drug addiction right away. For those that survive a drug overdose, it should serve as a wake up call for them and their loved ones that drug rehab is necessary.