IV Drug Users Don’t Cope Well When Others Overdose, Study Finds

Here’s a summary of a study examining responses to overdoses:

A study of IV drug users in Baltimore found that more than two-thirds had witnessed an overdose. But only two-thirds of those called 911 for emergency medical help, and even then, they delayed making the call by five minutes or more.

Often, witnesses to an overdose tried their own remedies, such as walking the victim around, shaking them or inflicting pain, and one in four injected a home-made solution of salt water in an attempt to reverse the overdose, said Robin Pollini, Ph.D., lead author of the study, which appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Most witnesses did not call 911 promptly because they thought the victim could be revived without help, but many reported fearing involvement by the police