Recognize an Overdose

Signs of OVERDOSE, which often results in death if not treated, include:

  • Unconsciousness or inability to awaken.

  • Slow or shallow breathing or breathing difficulty such as choking sounds or a gurgling/snoring noise from a person who cannot be awakened.

  • Fingernails or lips turning blue/purple.

If an opioid overdose is suspected, stimulate the person:

  • Call the person’s name.

  • If this doesn’t work, vigorously grind knuckles into the sternum (the breastbone in middle of chest) or rub knuckles on the person’s upper lip.

    View Animation of Sternum Rub
  • If the person responds, assess whether he or she can maintain responsiveness and breathing.

  • Continue to monitor the person, including breathing and alertness, and try to keep the person awake and alert.