Suddenly your BFF suffers a drug overdose.
They drop to the ground, they vomit, they start frothing at the mouth.
Then, the unthinkable happens, they stop breathing on you. You know that you must call for help, for an ambulance or even for the police to save their life. Unfortunately, calling for help may draw attention to you and your friend’s activities and the fear of being caught up in the whole deal and getting in trouble from your parents and the authorities causes you to panic.
And – you do nothing.
Your BFF sadly dies from your lack of activity and from the lack of emergency assistance.
You could and you should have done something.
BFF’s are hard to find and they are irreplaceable.
Drug overdose deaths in Australia are on the increase; with around 374 deaths from overdose from illicit drugs per year.(1)
Many of these drug overdose incidents take place in the presence of friends, who could help avoid the victim’s death by acting quickly. However, they hesitate to seek help because of fear of persecution from parents and police, as they themselves may be under the influence of illicit drugs and as a result may be incriminated by association.
So they choose to do nothing or by the time they muster up enough courage to act the victim has suffered irreversible brain damage and cannot be revived.
A recent coroners report (July 2011) found that a 21 year old man who consumed 15 ecstasy tablets before overdosing died because his friends did not call for help soon enough and by the time they did it was just too late to save him.
Making it ok to save your BFF
As parents we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our children when they go out with their friends. Even though we cannot be there to save them, we can provide them with enough security that if they do run into trouble they can come to us without the fear of being reprimanded or being told what a disappointment they are to their parents.
Most of us are aware that children do things that are not always right and we must accept that this is part of the learning process involved with growing up.
By becoming more accepting that our children are going to make mistakes and do some really dumb things, we can and must keep the lines of communication open between ourselves and our children. By doing so our children may just keep us in the loop when things go pear-shaped.
As the authorities (police and other law enforcement agencies) we have to make it okay for our children to call for help without the fear of being prosecuted by the police and the law for those who report a drug overdose to help the victim. Until we do this; our children will continue to have a fear when it comes to helping their friends who may have used illicit drugs and overdosed.
As a BFF there are really no excuses for not doing everything in your power to help when it comes to saving your BFF’s life when things go wrong.
You must recognise when your BFF is in trouble
As a BFF you must be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol effects and impending overdose.
Saving your BFF
If your friend has overdosed, “dropped” to the ground
- Call 000 emergency for an ambulance
- Check their airway for obstruction; one of the first responses to drug overdose is vomiting and the risk of drowning in your own vomit is high if the air way is not cleared
- Check circulation if there is no pulse start CPR immediately
- If airway and breathing are ok, then put your friend in the recovery position on their side and comfort them until the ambulance arrives.
You have no excuses. BFF’s are forever
(1). Australian drug statistics 2006