It can be hard to tell the difference between someone having an overdose and someone who’s passed out. If a person using opioids is making strange sounds while “sleeping,” it’s a good idea to try waking them up — many people who have witnessed an overdose say that they thought the person was snoring.
Try to wake the person up
- Call their name or yell “I’m going to call 911!”
- If they don’t respond to your voice, rub the middle of their chest with your knuckles.
Call 911 right away if you can’t wake them up
- Give your exact location as best you can.
- Say if the person is conscious (awake) or not.
- Say if the person’s breathing has slowed down or stopped.
Start rescue breathing if the person’s breath is slow or has stopped
- Put the person on their back.
- Tilt their chin up to open the airway.
- Check to see if there is anything in their mouth blocking their airway (like gum or a syringe cap). Remove anything you find.
- Plug their nose with 1 hand and give 2 even breaths. Blow enough air to make their chest rise.
- Continue giving 1 breath every 5 seconds.
- Watch this video to see how rescue breathing works.
Give naloxone if you have it
- Take the yellow cap off the syringe.
- Take the red cap off the naloxone.
- Screw the naloxone capsule into the syringe.
- Push the end of the capsule firmly to spray half the naloxone into the person’s nose.
- Repeat with the other half in the second nostril.
- If the person doesn’t react in 2 to 3 minutes, give a second dose if you have it.
- Watch this video to see how to give nasal naloxone.
Put the person in recovery position
If you need to leave them for a minute, like to call 911 — put the person on their side with their body supported by a bent knee. This will help keep their airway clear and stop them from choking if they throw up.