Naloxone & Overdose Prevention

Overdose First-Aid: Steps to Save a Life During an Opioid Crisis

Learn life-saving first-aid steps for opioid overdoses. Be prepared, act swiftly, save lives.

June 12, 2023
Overdose First-Aid: Steps to Save a Life During an Opioid Crisis
In the midst of an escalating opioid crisis, being equipped with knowledge on overdose first-aid could mean the difference between life and death. The signs of an opioid overdose can often be identified early on, and taking appropriate action swiftly can save lives. In this article, we will walk you through the necessary steps to assist someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Recognizing the Signs of an Opioid Overdose

Before we delve into the steps to assist an individual experiencing an overdose, it is imperative to know the signs. Some of the critical symptoms to look out for are:

  1. Extremely pale face
  2. Clammy skin
  3. Limp body posture
  4. Slow or erratic heartbeat
  5. Shallow or ceased breathing

Step-By-Step Guide to Assisting an Individual

Step 1: Call Emergency Services

The first step should always be to call emergency services. Ensure that help is on the way before you proceed with other first-aid steps.

Step 2: Administer Naloxone

If available, administer naloxone, a medication designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Make sure to follow the guidelines provided with the medication.

Step 3: Perform Rescue Breathing

If the individual is not breathing, begin rescue breathing immediately to maintain oxygen flow to their brain.

Step 4: Position the Individual Properly

Position the individual in the recovery position to prevent choking and to keep their airway open.

Step 5: Stay with the Individual

Stay with the individual until emergency services arrive, offering reassurance and monitoring their condition.


Having a clear understanding of the steps to take in the event of an opioid overdose can potentially save a life. Equip yourself with the necessary knowledge and share it with those around you. Together, we can mitigate the adverse effects of the opioid crisis.

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