Substance Abuse & Illicit Drugs

Substance abuse is characterised as the over indulgence of a dependence on addictive substances, in particular drugs and alcohol.

Commonly, alcohol and prescription drugs, when used to excess, and any use of illicit drugs is considered as substance abuse.

Signs and symptoms of some of the more commonly used drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin are listed below:

drugs, cocaine, user
  • Dangerous or fatal rise in body temperature
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Heart attack
  • Brain haemorrhage
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Repeated seizures, convulsions  or tremors
  • Delirium
  • Death

Treatment of an Overdose

For the treatment of any overdose you must follow the basic emergency action plan (D.R.S.A.B.C.D.)

Remember that a person who has overdosed might be hallucinating, disorientated and aggressive so it is very important to make sure that you are not placing yourself in danger.

  • Call 000 for an ambulance, or if there is another person nearby have them do this
  • Follow the steps of the Emergency Action Plan – D.R.S.A.B.C.D.
  • Stay with the casualty until help arrives and monitor all signs of life being ready at all times to perform CPR.