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What Causes an Overdose?

The sad reality of addiction is the inherent price tag of death from overdose. It can happen to anyone; long-term addicts or even first-time users are at risk of a fatal overdose. This occurs when the human body can no longer process a drug, and symptoms of overdose occur, followed by possible death. The most common factor in a drug overdose is the person’s tolerance level. Over time, a person’s tolerance to a drug, or their ability to get the effect they desire, decreases with more exposure to the drug. Since they aren’t feeling the high they’re chasing, they take more, and more, and sometimes more turns into too much. For someone who doesn’t have a tolerance, there is no way of telling how much could be deadly. Everyone is different, and what may not kill one person could kill the next.

A very common cause of drug tolerance and overdose death is when a person who had previously had a high tolerance to the drug stops using for a period, and then picks up again. They may go right back to the amount they used before quitting, but their brain and body do not have that tolerance built up and they go into immediate overdose. This happens every single day, and is a tragic but preventable outcome to relapse. In fact, it has become so common that overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under age 50.

To no surprise, opioids are the most common drugs involved in overdoses. It is also important to note the danger of polysubstance abuse. Roughly 30% of opioid overdose fatalities also involved benzodiazepines (benzos). Opioids and benzos are often used concurrently, and the danger rests in the fact that benzos increase or potentiate the respiratory depressant effect of opioids. Another factor in deadly overdoses is the rising use of fentanyl in opioid substances. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, and 50 times stronger than heroin, and is being used as an additive to heroin, counterfeit pills, and now other drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine—often without the users’ knowledge. The only surefire way to prevent overdose: abstinence.

If you are struggling with addiction, and want help, call the Serenity Recovery Center. Don’t end up being a statistic. There is hope for you, because you can recover. Give us a call, we are available toll-free at (844-339-6964). You can do this. Recovery is possible, call today.