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What is an opioid overdose emergency?

Learn more about the signs of an opioid overdose emergency and find resources available for getting help with substance abuse.

Opioids are a class of drugs used for the management of pain. Opioids can affect the part of the brain that controls breathing. 
Anyone using prescribed or street opioids can have an overdose, but there are some things that put you at higher risk, such as: 
  • taking prescription opioids more often or at higher doses than recommended
  • taking opioids with alcohol or sedatives, such as:
    • sleeping pills
    • muscle relaxants
    • benzodiazepines
  • injecting drugs
  • taking an opioid your body isn't used to, or switching to a stronger drug
  • taking higher doses than you are used to
  • using drugs of unknown purity or strength
  • other health conditions, like liver or kidney disease, or breathing problems

Teva-Naloxone Nasal Spray should be used immediately if you or your caregiver think signs or symptoms of an opioid emergency are present, because an opioid emergency can cause severe injury or death.

Always call 911 as soon as an opioid overdose is suspected, before administering Teva-Naloxone Nasal Spray. 

What are the signs of an opioid overdose?

It is important to be familiar with the signs of an opioid overdose by recognizing these symptoms:

Trouble breathing or not breathing

Extreme drowsiness

Pale and clammy skin

Slow or no heartbeat

Passing out

Unable to be woken up by touch, shaking of shoulders or shouting

Very small pupils, like a pinpoint

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Getting help with substance abuse

The Government of Canada website offers a listing of public, non-profit support services, resources and information for people who need help with substance use, including overdose prevention resources.

Find support Getting help with substance abuse

1. Health Canada. Opioid overdose. Accessed at:
2. Teva Canada. Teva-Naloxone Nasal Spray Product Monograph. January 21, 2021.

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