What To Do In An Overdose (Opioids or Opiates)


If you think someone has overdosed try to make the person respond to sound or pain (rub the chest firmly, and/or shake the person)

If no response call 911

Give a dose of Naloxone, (injectable or nasal form) Repeat if no response after five minutes.

Perform chest compressions immediately


  • give them anything to eat or drink
  • put them under a shower
  • let them sleep
  • encourage the person to throw up
  • leave the person alone

If the person is conscious, try to find out what they took and how much

Why Do I Need A Naloxone Kit?

Stigma, isolation, and an unregulated drug supply can pose harm and create conditions for people to overdose in high numbers[1] unintentionally. Having a naloxone kit on hand may be a life saver. Naloxone is a safe and effective rescue medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Check with your local health centre, pharmacy, health authority, or other medical providers for regional availability.

Cultural Approach: Revisiting the Life Path Continuum

Opioids and opiates have a relationship to pain experienced in the body. Pain is complex and affects all people in unique ways and may cause them to seek and use opiates and opioids.

Our cultural teachings tell us that the experience of living in this world is understood as a journey of the spirit moving progressively through stages that are interconnected and continuous.  As we address these issues with kindness, caring, and respect, we can make an effort to understand the experiences and needs of people who use these drugs.

Opioid Replacement Therapy (ORT)

  • What is this type of therapy?

ORT refers to a process where individuals receive a medically supervised dosage of a regulated substance to balance areas of the brain impacted by opioid addiction and physical dependency. A common medication used is Suboxone which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and comes in pill form. Less commonly used is methadone, which is taken in liquid form.

These medications work to prevent withdrawal, reduce cravings for opioids and stabilize bodily and metabolic functions.


  • How does it work?

Physicians and other medical providers work with patients to determine an appropriate dose. Studies show that effective medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction should be coupled with other forms of support including family, community, culture, counselling, and others. (Opioid and Meth toolkit)

[1] Toronto Overdose Strategy: https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2019/hl/bgrd/backgroundfile-129421.pdf


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