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Some useful information and links relating to overdose and the recovery position.


An overdose occurs when too much of a particular substance is taken than is required or safe.

Overdoses occur from stimulant and depressant substances.

What can cause overdose?

Extract from the Safer Injecting Briefing

The reasons why accidental overdose occurs are often uncertain.

It has been suggested that it is sensible for injectors to smoke a small amount of heroin in order to gauge its strength before injecting. Many overdoses are not due to contaminated or 'especially pure heroin' as is commonly believed, but rather a combination of one or more of the following factors:

  • Lowered tolerance of the individual - especially on release from prison or on relapse from detoxification.
  • Poly-drug use, especially alcohol and benzodiazepines; any combination of many drugs with a respiratory depressant effect will increase the likelihood of overdose.
  • Allergic reaction.
  • Unfamiliar surroundings which may lead to individuals experiencing higher than normal stress levels, or not engaging in their normal drug -taking routine.