You Overdose on Drugs

Drug overdose happens. Sometimes people are lucky and they come out of it okay. Other times they come out of their overdose with physical or mental problems. Or they end up in a coma. Or they die.

An overdose can happen when:

  • You take too much of a drug or too many drugs
  • You use too many different drugs or mix drugs
  • You just try a drug … even once

In 2011, 2.5 million people visited hospital emergency rooms due to medical emergencies because of drug misuse or abuse.

  • About 1.25 million of those visits involved illicit drugs
  • About 1.24 million involved nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals
  • About 0.61 million were for drugs and alcohol combined

Since 2004, the annual overall number of hospital emergency room visits due to drug misuse or abuse has risen by 52 percent, or by 844,000 visits.

  • Over 40 percent of these visits required admission for some type of treatment
  • About 250,000 of these people came seeking treatment
  • The highest number of admissions were for cocaine and marijuana use, followed by heroin use


Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2011: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits