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  • Kasturi Goswami

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Overdose (OD)


The intentional or accidental overuse of a drug. It is the misuse of a substance; either prescription or over-the-counter; legal or illegal. An overdose can lead to serious medical complications.

The International Overdose Awareness Day, held on the 31st of August, is a global event; meant to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma surrounding drug-related deaths. The first-ever Overdose Awareness Day was observed in 2001. It was initiated by Sally J. Finn while she was in the Salvation Army in Melbourne, Australia. She had mentioned her idea to co-worker Peter Streker, and together they had strived towards raising awareness of the risks of overdoses.

According to a news report more than 6,000 silver condolence ribbons were distributed during the 2001 event, to grieving families and friends of people who had died due to a drug overdose. Following the success of the event, more organisations joined in the noble cause. As of present, over 40 countries have joined hands to observe this day annually and spread awareness.

We are flooded with daily headlines of suicide attempts through drug abuse. Thus, amassing knowledge on the definition, risks, implications and prevention steps of a drug overdose can serve as an instrument to save possible abusers.

Signs and Symptoms

The level of severity depends on the drug overdosed, the amount of overdose, and the medical history of the abuser. The usual symptoms are:

  • Ragged breathing and decreased heart rate.

  • Cold skin.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Agitation and aggression.

  • Dilated pupils.

  • Blue lips and nails due to low levels of oxygen in the blood.

  • Muscle spasms and seizures.

  • Unconsciousness.

  • Hallucinations.


Yes, it is possible. Through proper prevention steps, the abuse could be curbed.

  • Parents can ensure proper storage of drugs at home in order to keep out curious little snooping kids and pets; helping curb accidental overdose.

  • Studies exhibit that teenagers use their parents' prescription drugs as a source to get high. Thus, parents can prevent such abuse by keeping the drugs locked up and away from teenaged children.

  • If a person is an addict, it is best advised to go through rehabilitation in order to monitor and curb those addictive urges.

  • Mental disorders are a huge factor contributing to drug overdose cases. If a person is depressed or has suicidal tendencies, it is advisable for him or her to undergo counselling therapies and sessions to help them with their possible triggers.

In case we come across a possible case of overdose, we should be careful to handle the situation delicately. We should not abandon the aforesaid and ensure that the abuser gets medical aid at the earliest. The person can be revived if the appropriate help is received at the right time. In case we come across a person who is depressed or suicidal; or is at risk of inflicting self-harm; we should try reasoning out a way to make him seek the proper psychiatric care that he or she needs.

In case of emotional crisis situations, mental illness issues, and suicidal ideation; families undergoing trauma after the suicide of a loved one can seek help from helplines available for these purposes. A reach out can save a life. We all have the power to help a lost soul to redeem itself, so we should lend a helping hand. Suicide doesn’t end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better.

Where did I go wrong?

I lost a friend,

Somewhere along in the bitterness

And I would have stayed up with you all night

Had I known how to save a life


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Music Source ~ Spotify

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