Thousands of Americans die after overdosing on the potent opioid heroin every year. Most overdoses occur in people addicted to the drug. However, they can also occur if you only use them a single time. Knowing how to spot someone in distress can be crucial in a crisis. Your prompt action could save a life. The only way to completely avoid the risk of an overdose is to stop using the drug. A high-quality heroin addiction treatment program will help you meet this vital goal.
Respiratory Signs of an Overdose
Some of the most dangerous effects of a heroin overdose occur in the respiratory system. Two things to look for are slow or difficult breathing and shallow breathing. These are signs that heroin is interfering with or shutting down the brain’s automatic signals to the lungs. In a worst-case scenario, a person overdosing on the drug will stop breathing altogether.
Heroin Overdose Symptoms in the Nervous System
Your nervous system is responsible for sending signals to and from your brain. Ultimately, changes in parts of this system account for most of the effects of an overdose. However, some overdose symptoms are more directly connected to your nerve function. Examples of these symptoms include:
- Sudden or unexplained drowsiness
- A delirious or disoriented mental state
- Involuntary muscle movements
Someone overdosing on heroin may also go into a coma. This is the term for an unresponsive state of unconsciousness.
Additional Heroin Overdose Symptoms
Symptoms of a heroin overdose can also affect multiple other systems throughout your body. Additional things to look out for include:
- Lips or nails with a bluish color
- Extremely dilated pupils
- A faint or weak pulse
- Tongue discoloration
- An unusually dry mouth
A person overdosing on the drug may also experience abdominal spasms or severe constipation.
What to Do If You Notice Signs of a Heroin Overdose
If you think someone may be overdosing on heroin, call 911 immediately. Be aware that responding emergency personnel will want to have certain kinds of information. That information includes the general condition of the affected person. It also consists of that person’s age and weight. In addition, emergency responders will want to know when heroin was used and how much was taken. If you know these details, provide them when asked.
If you know someone who uses heroin, you might have planned ahead for the possibility of an overdose. In this situation, you may have ready access to the medication naloxone. This medication is also known by brand names such as Narcan and Evzio. Naloxone prevents opioids from reaching the brain. When given promptly, it can reverse the effects of an overdose. You do not need medical training or special permission to use the medication.
If naloxone is not available, stay with the affected person until help arrives. To reduce the risks of choking, place them on their side. It’s okay to try and rouse someone who has lost consciousness. If they’ve stopped breathing, you can also administer CPR if you know how to do so. However, don’t try to make that person vomit unless a trained responder explicitly asks you to.
Learn More About the Signs of Heroin Overdose at Women’s Recovery
Have further questions about heroin overdose? Contact the professionals at Women’s Recovery. We’ll provide the information you need to respond effectively in an emergency.
Need help preventing the possibility of an overdose? We specialize in heroin treatment for women. Our full-spectrum recovery plans not only address the effects of addiction itself. They also address things in your background that may help keep your addiction going. For more information on our customized, women-focused approach, call us today at 833.754.0554. You can also fill out our brief online form.