Talking to Patients About Overdose

As a universal precaution, a nonjudgmental, normalized conversation can help educate and prevent overdose for patients on opioids.

Talking Points
  • The opioid overdose epidemic results in the deaths of 46 Americans every day (CDC, 2018). The safety of ALL patients on opioids is a serious concern.
  • Signs of overdose include: slow or no breathing, not responding, turning blue, or snoring.

  • ALWAYS call 911 if you think someone is overdosing. You may be offered some legal protections for calling 911 under your state’s Good Samaritan Laws.
  • Naloxone (Narcan) can reverse opioid overdose and save a life. It is safe, free, and legal to carry.
  • Carry naloxone in case of emergency– similar to a first aid kit or fire extinguisher. Equipping community members with naloxone allows a quicker response to overdose until EMS arrives–which saves lives.

  • Not all overdoses are due to patients intentionally misusing medications. With children or others in the home there is a risk for someone else accidentally overdosing. Having naloxone at home is a responsible choice.

Click here for patient resources about overdose prevention
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