chapter  28
9 Pages

Intoxication and overdose

Health interventions
WithG. Hussein Rassool

Intoxication and overdose are the potential consequences of substance misuse whether the psychoactive substance is illicit, prescribed or over-the-counter. Emergency medical attention is often required by those misusing psychoactive substances as a result of toxic or adverse effects of the substance, the route of administration (injecting may lead to blood poisoning and deep vein thrombosis), lifestyle behaviours (poor nutrition, dehydration) and risk-taking whilst under the influence of psychoactive substances (accidental self-harm). Acute intoxication frequently occurs in persons who have more persistent alcohol- or drug-related problems resulting in disturbances in level of consciousness, cognition, perception, affect or behaviour, or other psycho/ physiological functions and responses. There has been concern about the high prevalence of mortality amongst substance misusers as a result of overdose. Globally, drug-related deaths involve prescription pain relievers and heroin. Substance misusers are at higher risk of suicide than the general population, and prescribed drugs, notably anti-depressants and methadone, heighten that risk.