May 22, 2019

Facts about an opioid overdose


Opioid overdose is characterized by a decrease in breathing rate that can lead to death. Death usually occurs 1 to 3 hours after use, rather than suddenly. Overdose is frequently witnessed by someone who does not recognize the danger or does not want to act on it.

How do I recognize signs of an opioid overdose?

• No response to stimuli
• Shallow, laboured or no breathing
• Cannot be woken up
• Snoring or gurgling
• Blue/grey lips or finger tips
• Floppy arms or legs

What should I do if I see an overdose?

• Check for danger
• Call an ambulance and stay on the line
• Put the person in recovery position
• If you have access to Narcan, administer it
• Provide CPR
• If there has been no response within 3-5 minutes, and if you have it available, administer another dose of Narcan
• Stay with the person until the ambulance arrives

Good Samaritan Law

Some individuals may fear that police responding to a 911 call will result in criminal charges for themselves or for the person who overdosed. Those fears should NEVER stop anyone from calling 911 immediately. It may be a matter of life or death.

In September 2011, the 911 Good Samaritan Law went into effect to address fears about police responding to an overdose. This law provides significant legal protection against criminal charges and prosecution for possession of controlled substances, including possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. This protection applies to both the person providing assistance in good faith, and the person who has overdosed. Class A-1 drug felonies, as well as sale or intent to sell controlled substances, are not covered by the Good Samaritan Law.


Overdoses don’t just happen to famous people. Everyday somebody’s child, parent, sibling or friend dies from overdosing. These deaths are preventable!

Narcan: How does it work?


Family Counseling Services
165 Main St.
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-0234

Services: Mental Health and Chemical Dependency outpatient counseling available to youth, adults, and families. Cortland Prevention Resources

Beacon Center
20 Crawford St.
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 428-5601

Services: Outpatient counseling

Syracuse Recovery Services
17 Main St., Suite 411
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 756-4167

Services: Drug and alcohol treatment and medication management

To learn more about how to prevent Rx drug abuse and addiction, visit

%d bloggers like this: