The Trauma of Addiction and Overdose

Ohio is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Between 2013 and 2015, Ohio saw a 44% increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths due to prescription opioid and heroin misuse. Drug overdose, mainly due to opioids, is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, overtaking traffic accidents.

If you have witnessed or experienced an overdose, you know it can be a scene of chaos and confusion as first responders, interested bystanders, family members, and friends try to provide life-saving naloxone to the person who has overdosed.

Know the Signs of Overdose

Overdose is a medical emergency – CALL 9-1-1
Tell attendant: Person is 
not responsive and not breathing.*

How can this toolkit help?

Families are being devastated by the opioid epidemic. Opioid overdose can happen anywhere and knowing how to use naloxone can be the difference between life and death.

Having a loved one overdose is traumatic for anyone but can be especially damaging to the children and can forever change family dynamics. This toolkit provides resources to help support children and families as they work through the crisis of addiction and overdose, including support so you do not have to navigate these changes alone.

Many first responders are also experiencing trauma and compassion fatigue combating this epidemic. This toolkit has resources to help first responders dealing with the chronic nature of clients experiencing addiction and overdose.

Use the following quick links to access printable brochures with information about helping children dealing with the trauma of overdose and information about Narcan (brand name for naloxone). We provide additional details concerning children and naloxone in this toolkit website.

Trauma of witnessing opioid overdose: how to help children brochure button           

How Did We Develop this Toolkit?

There has been a statewide call for more support to combat the opioid epidemic and the aftermath of overdose. Family members and friends struggling with a loved one’s addiction or overdose, and professionals such as social workers, first responders, and mental health and substance use counselors provided survey information to help us determine what support and information are already available and what more is needed. The survey confirmed that more family and child trauma support is needed which led to the development of this site. The full survey report is available here.

Please use the information as needed and share this resource with others. There is information available for everyone interested in learning more about obtaining and using naloxone, better understanding addiction, resources for accessing treatment near you, locating family support, or finding help for a child who has been traumatized by this epidemic.




*Courtesy of The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia