Drug or Alcohol Overdose


Drug and alcohol use is prevalent across our communities, and misuse - leading to an overdose of either substance - can have life-threatening consequences.

Signs and symptoms of overdose include drowsiness, loss of coordination, rapid or weak pulse, confusion, hallucination, altered or difficult breathing, mood swings, pale cold and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, seizure or collapse.

When applying first aid for drug or alcohol overdose, always be aware of sudden behavioural changes in the patient.

1. Beware of hazards such as body fluid, syringe needle or broken glass.

2. Assess patient's level of consciousness, be ready for sudden movement or aggressive behaviour.

3. If conscious, rest and reassure patient, keep warm and ask what's been swallowed, inhaled or injected.

4. If patient is unconscious, very unwell or behaving erratically, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance, place in recovery position and prepare for CPR.

5. Keep talking to the patient to monitor consciousness, check breathing and airways while waiting for the ambulance.

6. Ensure evidence of drugs or alcohol is kept safe for identification.


Frequently Asked Questions

What first aid supplies do I need to treat drug or alcohol overdose? First aid supplies won't stop the physiological effects of an overdose, but a Thermal Shock Blanket, Vomit Bags, Dressings, Bandages and Antiseptic will treat side effects like shock and minor injuries. A disposable Resuscitation Face Shield should always be on hand if there is potential for the patient to require CPR.