An overdose on any substance can quickly lead to a dangerous medical crisis or even death. When every minute counts, you can ACT and potentially save a life – if you know what to do.

Woman on left is consoling woman on right

Ask Questions

There are many different possible overdose symptoms, depending on the person and what they have taken.

Before you do anything else, ask the person:

  • “Are you okay?”
  • “Have you been drinking or taking anything?”
  • “What drugs have you taken?”

While you are asking questions, watch for possible overdose symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Bluish Skin Color
  • Paleness
  • Hypothermia
ACT With Purpose

Call 911

If you think someone has overdosed, call 911 to get help from first responders quickly. Give your exact location and phone number to the operator. Explain exactly what’s going on. If you know, tell them what the person may have taken.

Did you know that you’re protected under Florida law when you help someone who might have overdosed?

The 911 Good Samaritan Law says that a person acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for an alcohol- or drug-related overdose may not be arrested, charged, prosecuted, or penalized for simple drug possession.

Hand holding a phone with 911 on screen
Man checking pulse of unconscious woman

Take Action

After you’ve called 911, stay with the person until first responders arrive. While you are waiting, here’s what you can do to help:

  • Lay the person on their side. Place their hands under their head and their upper knee forward to prevent them from rolling onto their stomach. Do not lay them on their back or stomach.
  • Keep them alert if you can. Talk to them loudly. Shout their name if you know it.
  • Try to wake them up if they’ve passed out. Shake their shoulders or rub your knuckles back and forth firmly in the middle of their chest.

When first responders arrive, tell them about any symptoms you have observed and (if you know) tell them what drugs the person took.

What NOT to do

no coffee

Don't give them coffee

no shower

Don't put them in a cold show or bath

no vomit

Don't try to make them throw up

no slap

Don't try to wake them by slapping or hitting them

no waiting

Don't wait

And don't assume someone else will help