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How to recognize an overdose and save a life


A missed opportunity to save a life: 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 the person is overdosing. Here are some other signs (If you see them, don’t hesitate to call 911):

Click to read the special report

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsive to outside stimulus
  • Awake, but unable to talk
  • Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped
  • For lighter skinned people, the skin tone turns bluish purple, for darker skinned people, it turns grayish or ashen.
  • Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise, sometimes called the “death rattle,” which can mean something is obstructing the person’s airway, such as vomit.
  • Vomiting
  • Body is very limp
  • Face is very pale or clammy
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black
  • Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all

Source: Harm Reduction Coalition

>>Interactive Calendar: All the lives lost

>>What is addiction? Why some can’t give it up, others can walk away

>>Heroin scourge: 'Not a thing being done about it'

>>‘It was a tidal wave I saw coming early on that I could not stop’

>>Full Coverage: Generation Heroin special report

>>How addicts and families can get help


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