Drugs That Can Cause Overdose

drugs that can cause overdose

Due to the opioid epidemic and other growing drug-related trends, thousands of people are battling drug abuse and the many dangers it presents.

. Drug overdoses are currently the leading cause of accidental death in the United States for people under the age of 50. At this time, drug overdose deaths exceed those linked to firearms, car accidents, homicides, and HIV/AIDS.1 Overdose can either be accidental or intentional and usually involve addictive substances. Our substance abuse treatment center in Pompano is sharing a list of drugs that can cause overdose and overdose symptoms to look out for.


What Is an Overdose of Drugs?

An overdose of drugs is when a person takes a higher dose of a prescription or over-the-counter medication than medically recommended. However, drug overdoses can also occur with illicit drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin when a person takes a dose that their body can’t metabolize quickly enough. In high doses, certain drugs are highly toxic and can cause uncomfortable symptoms and death. Poisonings are also common but generally refer to exposure to chemicals, plants, and other toxic substances.


What Is an Accidental Drug Overdose?

Drug overdoses can either be intentional or accidental. Usually, intentional drug overdoses are done to achieve the desired effect or self-harm, but accidental drug overdoses typically occur when a small child or an adult with impaired mental abilities swallows a medication left within their reach. Children younger than five years old may swallow drugs by accident simply because they’re curious and because they’re at a stage where they put everything into their mouths. However, adolescents and adults are more likely to purposely overdose on one or more drugs to harm themselves or experience a high. People with drug addictions are especially at high risk of overdosing because of developed tolerance. Tolerance causes drug users to increase their dose to experience the same side effects they once did with a lower amount. Additionally, accidental prescription drug overdoses can also occur in elderly people who take many different medications and inadvertently ingest the wrong one, mix them, or take the wrong dose.

If you take any medications, make sure you store them in a place where they’re out of reach from small children or anyone else who should not be taking them. If you have an elderly parent or friend, try and help them organize their medications to prevent an accidental overdose. For people with drug addictions, the best way to help them avoid overdoses and other health complications are to get them professional treatment. Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano offers various addiction treatment programs in Florida that address different substance use disorders. We can help you or a loved one battling addiction regain their health and sobriety.

What Drugs Can You Overdose On?

People assume that only illicit drugs can cause overdose, but this isn’t the case. There’s a variety of over-the-counter medications that can also lead to overdose and even addiction.

Drugs that can cause overdose include:

  • Cough medicines, especially those containing dextromethorphan (DXM)
  • Sedative antihistamines
  • Laxatives
  • Inhalants
  • Alcohol (also known as alcohol poisoning)
  • Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers)
  • Prescription painkillers like fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, and codeine
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Synthetic or designer drugs like bath salts, Flakka, and Spice (fake weed)

According to a study conducted on drugs frequently involved in overdose deaths in the U.S. between 2011 and 2016, the most common overdose drugs were fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, alprazolam, diazepam, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The same study also found that the drugs most frequently involved in accidental overdoses in 2016 were fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine.2 Not only can these drugs cause overdose, but they can also lead to a lifetime of addiction. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease characterized by the inability to control one’s use of drugs or alcohol. This disease can be a trap for many and can ruin a person’s health, relationships, and finances. When it comes to drug abuse, overdose is only one of the many dangerous side effects that can occur.


Common Drug Overdose Symptoms

The severity of intentional and accidental drug overdose symptoms depends on the dose of the ingested drug. Many drug users tend to overdose because they’re trying to experience a particular high. This danger is common in long-time drug users primarily because they’ve developed a high tolerance that requires them to use more of a drug for the same effect. However, regardless of whether someone intentionally or accidentally ingested the same dose of a substance, they may experience the same side effects.

Although the signs of a drug overdose may differ depending on the substance, some generally common drug overdose symptoms include:

  • Either decreased or increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulties sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Cold sweats
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pains
  • Difficulties breathing (breathing may be slow, rapid, or shallow)
  • Stomach pains
  • Vomiting blood or bloody bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Organ damage


Frequent drug overdoses may be a sign of addiction. If you’re struggling with substance abuse or suspect that a loved one is, call Banyan Pompano now at 888-280-4763 to learn how our partial hospitalization program (PHP) can help.


Alyssa who is the National Director of Digital Marketing, joined the Banyan team in 2016, bringing her five-plus years of experience. She has produced a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. Through strategic marketing campaign concepts, Alyssa has established Banyan as an industry leader and a national household name.