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What Happens When You Overdose on Opiates?

It can be difficult to determine if a person is experiencing an opiate overdose or simply high on the drug. For this reason, many people shy away from taking the necessary steps when they realize a person is in trouble and requires medical attention.

Note: if an opiate overdose is not treated in the appropriate manner, the chance of serious injury, illness, or death is very real.

An opiate overdose can occur when a person misuses a prescription drug or a street drug, such as heroin. Either way, the end result will be the same.

Symptoms of an Opiate High

Before we get into the finer details of an overdose, let’s take a look at the symptoms associated with somebody who is extremely high on the drug:

  • Slurred speech
  • Itchy skin
  • Muscle weakness
  • Pupils will contract

If you are concerned that a person is too high on this drug, it is essential to stay by their side for the time being. You do not want to leave them alone, as there is a chance they could have overdosed but you just don’t realize it yet.

Symptoms of Opiate Overdose

overdose signs

An opiate overdose can be fatal.

Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with opiate overdose:

  • Body is limp
  • Awake but not talking
  • Clammy and/or pale face
  • Lips and fingernails turning black or blue
  • Slow and erratic breathing, possibly leading to breathing that has stopped
  • Slow or no pulse
  • Choking sounds
  • Vomiting
  • Unresponsive to light and/or sound

Is the person making strange sounds while “sleeping?” If so, you should attempt to wake the person up. You may believe the person is simply snoring, however, he or she could be facing an opiate overdose. If you step in at this time, you may be able to provide the help necessary to save a life.

It is uncommon for a person to immediately die following an overdose. Instead, this often times happens after several hours. A person is able to overcome an opiate overdose if they have somebody available to help them during this time. Those who are left alone have a much smaller chance of making it through this time.

When somebody overdoses on opiates, the chance of death is very real. That being said, it is not a given. There is help to be had, and the sooner a person receives the assistance of a medical professional the better off they will be.

There is a fine line between being high on an opiate and overdosing. It is better to be safe than sorry if you come across a person who has consumed a large amount of this drug.

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