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Drug Overdose

Drug Overdose Overview

Patient Comments

Overdoses of drugs or chemicals can be either accidental or intentional. Drug overdoses occur when a person takes more than the medically recommended dose. However, some people may be more sensitive to certain medications so that the high end of the therapeutic range of a drug may be toxic for them.

Illicit drugs, used to get high, may be taken in overdose amounts when a person's metabolism cannot detoxify the drug fast enough to avoid unintended side effects.

Exposure to chemicals, plants, and other toxic substances that can cause harm are called poisonings. The higher the dose or the longer the exposure, the worse the poisoning. Two examples are carbon monoxide poisoning and mushroom poisoning.

  • People respond differently to a drug overdose. Treatment is tailored to the individual's needs.

  • Drug overdoses can involve people of any age. It is most common in very young children (from crawling age to about 5 years) and among teenagers to those in their mid-30s.
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Drug Overdose:

Drug Overdose - Experience

Please describe your experience with drug overdose.

Drug Overdose - Treatment

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Injecting Drug Use »

The hypodermic syringe was invented in the mid-1800s. By the late 1800s and early 1900s in the United States, the public could purchase hypodermic needles and syringes legally, and opiates and cocaine were widely available.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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