What should I do if I am with someone who overdoses?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported there were more than 100,000 drug overdose deaths in 2022. One of the best ways to save a life when someone takes too much of a drug is to call for immediate medical assistance.

The problem is that many people are afraid to get help because they do not want to face criminal charges for drug use and possession. Fortunately, laws are changing to make it safer for people to help others who are overdosing. If you ever find yourself in that situation, take the following actions.

Call for help

Dial 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Inform the dispatcher about the situation, including the overdose and your location. Emergency medical professionals have training to respond to overdose cases and can provide life-saving assistance.

Understand that you will not get into any trouble because Virginia law protects you. It allows for immunity for anyone who seeks help from emergency responders for an overdose situation. You only have to identify yourself as the person who made the call. Do not be afraid to get assistance.

Stay with your friend

Stay by your friend’s side throughout the ordeal. Ensure their airway remains clear, and monitor their vital signs, such as pulse and breathing. Keep them comfortable and reassure them if they regain consciousness. Never leave your friend alone during an overdose situation. Continue to provide support and assistance until medical professionals arrive.

Be cooperative

It is natural to feel panicked, but try to remain as calm as possible. Your composure is important in ensuring that you can communicate effectively with emergency responders and provide them with the necessary information.

When speaking to emergency services, provide clear and accurate information about your friend’s condition. Mention any substances they may have taken, the quantity if known and any symptoms or changes in their behavior.

It can be upsetting to witness an overdose, but getting assistance is the most important step you can take. The law protects you so you can do the right thing and help save your friend’s life.



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