Preventing Overdoses & Deaths

Unfortunately for some, it’s too late to prevent substance use or addiction. When this is the case, it’s important to be prepared, be aware of the signs of overdose, and know what to do if one happens.

Carry Naloxone

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose. It is not addictive, nor can it cause harm if administered. To learn more about naloxone and where to find it, visit

Know the Signs & Symptoms of Opioid Overdose

It can be difficult to tell if a person is just very high or experiencing an overdose. If you’re having a hard time telling the difference, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose – it could save someone’s life.

Typical signs of an overdose include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Limp body
  • Unresponsive to outside touch or noise
  • Pulse is slow, erratic, or not there at all
  • Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped
  • Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise (sometimes called the “death rattle”)
  • Blue/purple skin tone (light skin), or gray/ashen skin tone (darker skin), especially around the fingernails and lips.

If someone is making unfamiliar sounds while sleeping, it is worth trying to wake him or her up. Many loved ones of users think a person was snoring, when in fact the person was overdosing. These situations can be a missed opportunity to intervene and save a life.

The Center for Opioid Safety Education teamed with Kelley-Ross Pharmacy Group on a new online overdose prevention and naloxone training tool.