Drug Overdose

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in Rhode Island.

What users can do to prevent an overdose death

  • Get help for your addiction;
  • Don't use alone (no one can help you);
  • Don't mix drugs like benzos, alcohol and opioids;
  • Talk with friends and family about responding to an overdose and using naloxone in case of an opioid overdose.

What friends and family can do to prevent an overdose death

  • Call 911 if you find someone in an overdosed state. Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives. Know that Rhode Island has a "Good Samaritan" law that will protect you, from minor violations of drug and alcohol laws;
  • Try to wake the person up by yelling their name and rubbing the middle of the chest hard;
  • Try rescue breathing;
  • Put the person on their side so they do not choke;
  • Stock and use naloxone (also known as Narcan) to stop a opioid overdose. Rhode Island Walgreens pharmacies sell this antidote without a doctor's prescription and is covered by most health insurers. Training on this drug will be provided when it is purchased;
  • Store all medication in a secure location more;
  • Safely dispose of all unused medications;
  • Help addicts get help.

Signs of an overdose

If a person has any of these signs and can't respond to you, he/she may be having a drug overdose. An overdose usually happens 1 to 3 hours after a person has used.

  • Heavy nodding;
  • No response when you yell the person's name or rub the middle of the chest hard;
  • Blue lips or blue fingertips;
  • Slow breathing (less than 1 breath every 5 seconds) or no breathing;
  • Very limp body and very pale face;
  • Choking sounds or a gurgling, snoring noise.