MELBOURNE, Australia, Aug. 31, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- People around the world are being urged to absorb an important message this International Overdose Awareness Day (Monday, 31 August): don't assume your friend that appears like they are sleeping is OK.
With over 120 events taking place across countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, India and Norway, International Overdose Awareness Day is breaking down the stigma associated with overdose deaths. But there is much more work to do.
Medical professionals are warning that many of the opioid overdose deaths they see may have been preventable had people been able to recognize the signs of overdose and sought medical assistance earlier.
Penington Institute CEO John Ryan said people needed to gently shake their friends and say their names to see if they respond to determine if they are conscious.
"If people were more aware of the signs of overdose, lives could be saved," Mr. Ryan said.
"Too often we see cases where someone has overdosed surrounded by other people, where people have assumed the person was simply asleep. We desperately need to raise awareness of the signs of opioid overdose and that someone who appears to be sleeping could in fact been unconscious.
"If your friend appears to be sleeping don't assume they're OK. You should gently shake them and say their name to check that they are responsive. In some circumstances you could be saving their life.
"One of the give-away signs of opioid overdose is a gurgling, snoring noise – it is easy to think the person is asleep. Tragically they are not simply asleep. Not knowing the difference can cost a life.
"Everyone should be prepared to recognise the signs of an overdose, and to respond with the appropriate actions – including administering Naloxone if there is no response.
"By making yourself aware of the signs of opioid overdose you could save a life – the life of a stranger, a friend, or a family member.
"That's why I encourage people to download the Overdose Aware app – which is available in the app store or from www.overdoseday.com - and familiarise themselves with the signs of drug and alcohol overdoses."
For more information and a full list of events around the world go to www.overdoseday.com
CONTACT: Stewart Prins
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SOURCE Penington Institute