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What is an opiate?

An opiate is a narcotic drug that contains opium or an opium derivative from the opium flower. It slows down the nervous system, including a person's breathing. In medicine it is used to relieve pain. Opiate drugs include Heroin, Morphine, Codeine, Suboxone, Methadone, Oxycodone, (Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet), and Fentanyl.

How Opiates Differ:

Drug Duration Potency
Heroin 6-8 hours *****
Oxycontin 3-6 hours *****
Fentanyl 2-4 hours *****
Methadone 24-32 hours ****
Morphine 3-6 hours ***
Demerol 2-4 hours **
Codeine 3-4 hours *

Myths and Facts You Should know

  • Do NOT leave the person alone - they could stop breathing
  • Do NOT put them in a bath - they could drown
  • Do NOT induce vomiting - they could choke
  • Do NOT give them a drink - they could throw up
  • Do NOT put ice down their pants - change in body temperature
  • Do NOT stimulate in a way that could cause harm (slapping too hard, kicking their testicles, burning their feet, etc.)
  • Do NOT inject them with anything (milk, saltwater, coke) - this will waste time and make things worse
  • DO NOT WAIT for the individual to get over it, they could suffer permanent brain damage and DIE!!!!!!!

General Public

Public Services Offered:

We hold the strictest confidence and privacy for any person or organization utilizing our services or seeking assistance from our organization.

Overdose and What to Do:

Why does an overdose happen?

  • Relapse
  • Mixing drugs such as prescription drugs (opiates) and alcohol
  • Physical health- other illnesses
  • Fluctuations in purity of the substance
  • Some combinations can be DEADLY!

How to recognize if someone is REALLY HIGH

  • Muscles become relaxed
  • Speech is slurred/slow
  • Sleepy looking
  • Nodding
  • Will respond to stimulation like yelling, sternal rub, pinching

Responding to an overdose

  • Assess the signs
  • Stimulation: call name loudly and sternal rub
  • CALL 911
  • Rescue Breathing
  • Recovery position
  • Narcan
  • Stay with the person

Rescue Breathing

  • Make sure there is nothing in the mouth
  • Tilt the head back, lift chin, pinch nose
  • Give a breath every 5 seconds
  • Place person in recovery position

What is an opiate overdose?

A person has too much of an opiate in their system, resulting in respiratory depression which causes the person to stop breathing. An overdose usually occurs 1-3 hours after the drug is used.

Who is at risk for overdose?

Most overdoses occur to experienced users and usually not to the "new user" of opiates.

When does overdose happen?

Top Overdose Risk Factors:

Recognition of someone who is OVERDOSING

Tips in calling 911

Seven Hills Step  Outreach Center

Recovery Position

Click here for a printable flyer on opiant overdose and what to do. (PDF)

Good Samaritan Bill Facts

  • In 2006, an average of 12 Massachusetts residents died each week of an opiate-related overdose.
  • Fear of criminal charges is clearly a factor in delaying or preventing access to emergency services, the single most effective response to an overdose in an urban area
  • In several studies over half of drug users interviewed reported not calling 911 during an overdose due to fear of police
  • More deaths occur in private settings, where people are less likely to call 911 due to fear of police involvement
  • Delays in calling 911 can damage the victim's brain and body.
  • Click here for a printable flyer with more about the "Good Samaritan Bill" (Courtesy: Massachusetts Department of Public Health)

Good Samaritan Policy:

The P.O.W.E.R 2 Save Lives – Preventing Overdose With Empowerment and Resources fully supports the "911 Good Samaritan Bill".

Additionally our organization actively works with law local law enforcement officials on implementing a "Good Samaritan Policy" for our community.

What is the "911 Good Samaritan Bill"?

Sen. Steven Tolman has filed Senate Bill 1843, or the "911 Good Samaritan Bill" which provides certain protections from drug possession charges and prosecution when a drug-related overdose victim or a witness seeks medical attention.

Why is the "911 Good Samaritan Bill" important?

Most opiad overdose deaths can be prevented. In most cases if 911 is called quickly enough, the victim will survive, but fear of police and criminal prosecution prevents many people from calling for help. Immediately calling 911 could also help prevent permanent damage to the victim's brain or body caused by lack of oxygen during an overdose.

What the law will do?

What the law will not do?

Contact us today for more information!

©City of Fall River 2009 - 2013
Power to Save Lives - Preventing Overdose with Empowerment and Rescources

The P.O.W.E.R 2 Save Lives
Preventing Overdose With Empowerment and Resources
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