How to Recognize the Signs of Opioid Overdose and Act

Nearly 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2020- that’s a 30% increase over the previous year. The vast majority of these deaths were caused by an opioid overdose. Opioids include fentanyl, heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine.

It can feel hopeless to watch a loved one struggle with opioid addiction. Preparing for the worst is a devastating reality but it can save lives while you help them seek long-term treatment. If caught in time, an opioid overdose can be reversed with the use of naloxone.

What is Naloxone?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that naloxone is a medicine that rapidly reverses the potentially deadly physical consequences of an opioid overdose. As an opioid antagonist, naloxone attaches to opioid receptors to help reverse and block the effects of other opioids in the person’s system. Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose. Please note that naloxone has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in their system, and it is not a long-term treatment solution for opioid use disorder.

Families and friends with loved ones who have an opioid addiction should strongly consider having naloxone nearby in case of an emergency. Regardless, please call 911 immediately in the event of an overdose.

What Are the Signs of an Opioid Overdose?

  • Person is not moving and can’t be woken up
  • Slow, shallow breathing or not breathing
  • Blue lips and nails
  • Making gurgling sounds, snoring, or even choking
  • Skin is cold and clammy 
  • Pupils are small and fixed 

5 Steps to Take if an Opioid Overdose is Suspected

  1. Check for a response.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Give naloxone. If there is no response in 2-3 minutes, repeat the dose.
  4. Give rescue breaths or chest compressions.
  5. Stay with the person until help arrives.

How is Naloxone Given?

Naloxone can be given as a nasal spray or it can be injected into the muscle, under the skin, or into the veins.

Can I Get Naloxone Without a Prescription?

Check with your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies carry naloxone and you can get it without a prescription in some states. Another option is to check your area for a community-based distribution program or local public health group that offers naloxone free of charge. 

For more information, click the image below for a downloadable card from Prevent & Protect.


International Overdose Awareness Day

International Overdose Awareness Day takes place every year on August 31st. It’s the world’s largest annual campaign to help end the tragic consequences of an overdose. On this day, we remember without stigma those who have died from drug overdose and acknowledge the grief of the family and friends they’ve left behind.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to opioids or any other substances, Plum Creek Recovery Ranch is here to help. For a free and anonymous assessment, contact us today to speak with one of our caring admissions counselors.

Testimonials From Our Alumni

Plum Creek!!! Gosh I have so many amazing things to say about this place❤️ I absolutely 100% recommend this Facility!! It’s so perfectly structured and the Team here is amazing hands down!!! 🙌 Jared, Isaac, Jerry, Tina, Kim, Mike, Travis, Brittany, Rebecca, ALL the nurses, the management and so many many more people have seriously impacted my life here to grow and be successful for myself. Thank you Plum Creek for EVERYTHING! The best experience ever 🙏"

Christopher C. Alumni

Plum Creek recovery ranch is a really amazing place that completely changed my life. I was lost for a long time but found a true peace there that I never knew I could have. You can feel the love they have for helping others as soon as you walk in the door. I recommend this place for anyone struggling with addiction and wants to finally be free on the inside.

Keevan G. Alumni

My experience at Plum Creek Recovery Ranch was a life changing event. They helped me realize a life of sobriety and restored my hope in the future. They did this with genuine care and concern among all staff members. From the therapists to the kitchen staff, everyone expressed genuine care for my recovery and health. I am grateful for everyone's kindness and my new lease on life.

Charles C. Alumni

Suffering from the bonds of addiction?

Feel free to reach out to us at Plum Creek Recovery Ranch! Our dedicated team is committed to supporting you throughout your journey to recovery, offering guidance and assistance at every stage.

Contact Us Today!

At Plum Creek Recovery Ranch, we understand that seeking help for addiction can be a difficult step, but you’re not alone. Our dedicated team is here to support you on your journey to recovery. Whether you have questions about our programs, want to schedule a consultation, or need immediate assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can contact us via phone, email, or by filling out the form. Your well-being is our priority, and we’re committed to providing compassionate care every step of the way!

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