Overdose Prevention

Recognize an overdose

An overdose is when more drugs have been taken than the body can handle. Know the risks, Know the signs!

Prevent an overdose

Follow these tips to reduce your risk of overdose:

  • Don’t use alone
  • Start with a small amount
  • Mixing substances, including alcohol, increases risk of overdose
  • Use where help is easily available (e.g. around other people)
  • Use less. If you took a break, were in detox/treatment or jail, or are new to use, your tolerance is lower
  • If you have ever experienced an overdose, this may increase your risk to overdose again
  • Make a plan/know how to respond in case of an overdose 

Reverse an overdose with take home naloxone

  • Unintentional deaths and injury from opioid overdose are preventable with overdose and naloxone education
  • Naloxone can quickly reverse an overdose
  • People can be trained to recognize and respond to an overdose by using a free take home naloxone kit
  • Training is free and only takes 20 minutes
  • Find a registered site near you visit Toward the Heart
  • More information on BC’s Take Home Naloxone program (available in seven languages)
  • Call 8-1-1 for access to over 130 language translators at any time.

How to use Naloxone


What are opioids?

Opioids such as heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, Vicodin, codeine, morphine and methadone suppress breathing, and in cases of overdose, can result in severe brain damage and even death due to oxygen deprivation.

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate narcotic, a prescription drug used primarily for cancer patients in severe pain. Fentanyl is extremely toxic. A piece of fentanyl the size of one or two grains of sand can cause an overdose. It is roughly 50 to 100 times more toxic than morphine.

Fentanyl is a contaminant you can’t see, smell or taste. It can be found in pills sold as fake oxys & other club drugs, in powder as heroin or fent, & can be mixed in to other drugs like cocaine & crystal meth. People don’t often think the substances they are using contain fentanyl.

Although fentanyl is sometimes used in the management of complex pain, it must be prescribed by a physician and the dose should be carefully monitored.