What exactly happens to your body when you overdose (OD) on drugs?

I know that an overdose means you have taken too much drugs at once, but what does that mean for your body? What is the science behind a drug overdose (OD)? How do people die from overdosing? Can you survive an OD?

asked 16 Feb '12, 20:09

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An overdose (OD) is classified as the ingestion of a drug in quantities greater than recommended or typically consumed. After an OD, the body is left in a toxic state and effects are often fatal. People most at risk are those getting out of detox and treatment, or out of prison. The amount of drugs necessary to OD depends on the person and the general tolerance to the substance.

(25 Feb '12, 12:48) Jack ♦


Drug Abuse

Drug abuse can get out of control, and accidental overdose may occur.

Abstinence from drugs causes an addict’s tolerance to drop rapidly. After a few days or weeks, depending on a variety of circumstances, it will drop to the point that the amount the addict was using before entering detox has a much greater effect. This can be one cause of a drug overdose.


answered 16 Feb '12, 22:31

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Jack ♦
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Most overdoses are caused by people mixing drugs such as heroin, alcohol, methadone and benzodiazepines (Valium, Xanax, Ativan and similar “tranquilizers”). These drugs are all central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When they are used together, there can be a synergistic effect, where the presence of both drugs creates more CNS depression than either could alone — sort of a case of 1+1=3.

At a sufficient level, CNS depressants cause unconsciousness, slow heartbeat and depressed breathing. With lethal doses (LD), the user dies from suffocation when breathing ceases entirely. However, a lethal dose is not necessary in order for you to die. If you are lying on your back, and unable to swallow because of CNS depression, a small quantity of liquid such as vomit can cause suffocation. This has killed many people who would probably have survived the OD otherwise.

There is also the matter of misjudging the amount of drugs in your system. Most drugs taken by mouth reach their highest levels in the body quite some time after they begin to have a noticeable effect — as little as 30 minutes to as much as 4 hours. You can easily become dissatisfied with the effects and continue to swallow more. Then over time the blood levels continue to rise and give you more than you bargained for. It is not uncommon for this to happen when mixing oral and injected drugs. The pills aren’t getting the job done so you crush and inject, or snort, and — whammo!


Jack's right on that.... if you're used to a few 80's a day of oxy and then detox to nothing, and then one day weeks later decide to hit it again with the normal (several 80's) dose, you might die of an OD. Some people can do dozens per day and not shut down... which is crazy deadly for the rest of us.


With Heroin you slip away.I did a lethal dose,within a second the rush hits you like never before.You can't walk or move for more than a few seconds and then you are gone.It took a few minutes and My head started swelling like a balloon,My lips,tong,and fingers turned blue.Foam was coming out of my mouth.My pupils turned a cloudy color with a blue ring.I was dead.Luckily An ambulance was on the way and my wife knew CPR.All of this took place within 30min.I did not even mean to do this to myself.I was bored and thought I would try Heroin for the first time.I was along and had no-one to tell me it was too much.This was one of the most stupid things I have ever done.Even a small amount will kill.Stay away from this and all other drugs.Not worth it in the end.


answered 24 Dec '12, 13:24

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Amarillo Slim
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Asked: 16 Feb '12, 20:09

Seen: 80,008 times

Last updated: 24 Dec '12, 13:24