Drug abuse refers to overuse or misuse of any drugs or medications. The first thing you must understand before beginning to give first aid for drug abuse is the symptoms involved. In most cases, the symptoms either depend on whether it is a situation of drug overdose or withdrawal.
Symptoms of Drug Overdose
The following are symptoms of a drug overdose.
- Abnormal size of the pupil
- Vomiting and nausea
- Aggressive or violent behaviours
Symptoms of drug withdrawal
The following are symptoms of a drug withdrawal / withdrawal symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting
How to give first aid for drug abuse?
- Check the airways of the patient, pulse and breathing. If it is necessary, begin conducting CPR. In case the drug abuse victim is not awake but breathing, you should place him or her in recovery position. On the other hand, if he is conscious, loosen the clothes, keep him warm and let him be patient that all will be well. Let the patient remain calm. If there is an overdose, prevent the victim from taking more of the drugs. Then, call for instant medical emergency.
- Treat the victim for symptoms of shock if it is necessary. Signs of shock in a drug abuse victim include bluish lips, weakness, clammy skin, paleness and decreased alertness.
- If the patient shows signs of seizures provide first aid by clearing the surrounding area and supporting the head / neck.
- Keep on checking the victim’s important signs such as rate of breathing, blood pressure and pulse until the emergency medical providers arrive at the scene.
- Try as much as you can to determine the drug taken by the victims and when they were taken. Save any of the pill bottles or drug containers and give this information to the emergency help personnel.
Effective first aid and CPR techniques for poisonings are included in basic and standard first aid training.
Don’ts During the First Aid
- Never jeopardize your safety when offering the fist aid. Some medications or drugs can lead to unpredictable or violent behaviours that might make the patient cause injuries to you. When you recognize such signs, call for professional assistance immediately.
- Do not reason with any victim of drugs. This is because you do not expect them to behave reasonably because of the effects of the drugs.
- When providing help, you should not try to give your opinions. You do not need to understand the cause of the drug abuse so that you can offer first aid. These are things you should inquire later but not when immediate help is required.