If you think someone may be having an overdose call 9-1-1 immediately, do not delay.

If you use drugs purchased from the illicit market, occasionally or regularly, these tips can help to reduce or even prevent an overdose.

  • Know your health status and your tolerance
  • Do not mix drugs and alcohol. If you do mix, choose to use drugs before alcohol
  • Be aware: using drugs while on prescribed medications can increase overdose risk
  • Don’t use alone. Leave door unlocked. Tell someone to check on you
  • Do testers to check strength. Use less. Pace yourself
  • Talk to an experienced person or a trusted healthcare provider about reducing risk
  • Carry a naloxone kit and know how to use it
  • Keep  an eye out for your friends – stay together and look out for each other.
  • Recognize the signs of an overdose:  Slow or no breathing, gurgling or gasping, lips/fingertips turning blue, difficult to rouse (awaken), non-responsive.
  • If someone thinks they may be having an overdose or is witnessing an overdose, follow the SAVE ME steps and call 9-1-1 immediately, do not delay.
  • Know your health status and your tolerance, but be aware that if you haven’t used for a while, your tolerance may be much lower than you think.


Toward the Heart has an Overdose Survival Guide that can help you save a life and is available in multiple languages:

Overdose Survival Guide (English)