This page provides information only; it is not for emergencies. If you are with someone who has overdosed, call 911 immediately.
What is an opioid?
- An opioid is a drug made from opium poppies or made in a laboratory
- An opioid is a drug that acts in the brain and can stop you from breathing
- An opioid is a drug that generally makes people feel warm and drowsy
- An opioid is a drug which is used to manage physical pain and used in the treatment of addiction to other opioids
- An opioid is a drug sometimes used for other reasons; to cope with emotional pain, to relieve boredom or for fun
- An opioid is a drug you can become dependent on over time
A few common opioids:
Who is at risk of an opioid overdose?
You are at risk of an opioid overdose if you:
- are taking prescription opioids which were not prescribed for you
- are taking opioids prescribed for you but not taking them as prescribed
- are mixing more than one drug at a time
- are buying opioids from the street
- have never used opioids before
- use your regular dose, when you haven’t used for a while
- are mixing your opioids with downers like alcohol or benzos (example, Valium or Xanax)
- are changing to a different opioid
- are using opioids alone
How to recognize an opioid overdose?
- Breathing will be slow or person may not be breathing at all
- Lips and nails may be blue
- Person is not moving
- Person may be choking
- You hear gurgling sounds or snoring
- Person cannot be woken up
- Skin feels cold and clammy
- Pupils are tiny
How to prevent an opioid overdose?
- Don’t mix drugs. This includes prescribed, over-the-counter and illegal or illicit drugs
- Keep prescription opioids away from children, youth and other adults in your home
- Don’t mix drugs with alcohol
- Don’t use opioids alone
- If you switch to another opioid, uses less or do a test dose first
- If you start using opioids after not using for a while or after cutting down, do a test dose first and start low
What is naloxone?
- Naloxone (na-LOX-own) is a drug that can temporarily reverse an opioid overdose
- If Naloxone is administered to someone who is not suffering from an opioid overdose, it should not harm them
- Naloxone has been approved for use in Canada for over 40 years
- Naloxone has no potential for abuse
- Naloxone is available in an intramuscular injection form and in a nasal spray form
To learn more about Naloxone or how to get a free Naloxone Kit, CLICK HERE