Drug overdose: how can we deal with it

A man sleeping next to a bottle with drug

Drug overdose refers to a scenario where a person ingests or applies a particular drug in a greater quantity than recommended. This situation can lead to a toxic state or death. It is a term usually used when an illegal or proscribed drug is involved, however, legal drugs can be overdosed on too. It can also be a sudden act or it can happen over a long period of time. It is usually a result of excessive drug abuse. When a person overdoses on a drug, the side effects of the drug becomes more powerful and it becomes extremely difficult for the body to handle it.

Effects of drug overdose

Drug overdose is a very dangerous act that has a lot of disastrous effects like;

  • Increased strain on important organs of the body like the liver, heart, and kidneys
  • It can lead to problems with memory and decision-making and in some cases, these effects can be permanent.
  • Drugs are primarily chemicals that affect the brain and its ability to interpret stimuli. Most illicit drugs (these are the drugs most common overdosed on), release a great amount of dopamine into the brain: dopamine is a substance that helps regulate our emotions. Over time, if done continually, the brain gets used to this and this creates an addiction. Also, the artificial triggering of dopamine release to the brain can change the way the brain works. If such drugs are taken and eventually overdosed on, it can lead to severe harm on the psyche and mental health of a person. Drug overdose is often a direct result of drug abuse. It can lead to disabilities and severe health impairments.
  • The most dangerous effect of overdose on a person is death. Some drugs have very severe side effects, and if taken in large amounts the body becomes unable to tackle these effects as it would have done if the drug was in a small quantity.
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Perhaps it would be simple to say that the best way to prevent drug overdose is to simply not “take too much”. But that would be too naive and simplistic for such a complex issue. However, there are some measures that could be taken to prevent drug abuse and overdose.

  • The prescription of Naxolene, a drug that can counter the effects of opioids (the most abused drugs) overdose. Although it is merely a temporary measure, naxolene has saved up to 100,000 lives from the effects of opioids misuse.
  • The reduction of access to opioids can also prevent these cases. This is because of the simple fact that it is rather difficult to overdose on a drug you have no access to.
  • The prevention of the misuse of drugs can also go a long in way in stopping this cases.
  • The provision of overdose recognition, prevention, and response education to members of the community can also help prevent drug overdose

Drug overdose in schools

Drug overdose isn’t a phenomenon that only exists outside the walls of the school. It can also happen to students, teachers and other staff. Before drug overdose is reported in schools, there are a few preventive measures that schools can do to reduce the fatality of the situation.

  • Schools can provide education for students and parents about the dangers of drug use and overdose
  • The delivery of prevention programs that are evidence-based can also help in preventing overdose cases in schools
  • Schools can also try to reduce exposure to risk factors that make students vulnerable and thus susceptible to drug abuse
  • Schools can provide a safe environment and a positive culture that eschews any sort of substance abuse for students
  • In the case of overdose cases, schools can provide naxolene in order to counter the effects of the drug on members of the academic community.
  • Behavioral therapy can also be used to treat victims of drug abuse or overdose. There are several types of behavioral therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, system desensitization, and aversion therapy. These different treatments can help people with an addiction to drugs get over their addiction.
  • After treatment and rehabilitation of students who overdosed, the school can provide an enabling environment for proper recuperation for students.
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