How should I care for someone who is ill from substance abuse?

  • If you think that a person took an overdose or has another substance abuse problem requiring medical attention or other professional help, you should check the scene for safety and check the person.
  • If you have good reason to suspect that a substance was taken, call the National Poison Control Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 and follow the call taker’s directions.
  • In general, to care for the person, you should:
    • Try to learn from others what substances may have been taken.
    • Calm and reassure the person.
    • Keep the person from getting chilled or overheated to minimize shock.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.