Injecting Advice

Overdose and Trust

Written by Nigel Brunsdon on . Posted in .

Do you trust the people you use with? It’s a simple question really, but for a lot of people it’s a lot harder to answer that you’d think.

Every injecting relationship has to have a level of trust. After all in most cases all the people involved are breaking a law, sometimes many laws. Close relationships already have an existing amount of trust and social capital, but not every injecting relationship is considered a close one.

Relationships of convenience

Often an injecting relationship may be just as much to do with increasing the access to a drug as strong bonds of friendship, and in this kind of situation there will be little or no existing trust developed.

So what happens when someone ‘goes over’? We know from research into overdoses that around 50% of the time when someone overdoses there is a second person present. No problem then – ambulance called…

…not always. If you have no existing trust built up the fear connected with calling an ambulance and the resulting circus can be enough to stop someone calling at all. Even calling an ambulance and then doing a runner can mean someone dies before the medics arrive.

What we need is to know the people we choose to inject with will be willing to do the right thing if we OD; that they’ll phone paramedics, put us in the recovery position and stay with us until the medics get there.

Make a promise

The best way to make people understand the need to stay with you if you OD is to let them know you’ll stay with them if they do. Think about the people you use with from day to day and week to week, have you had that kind of conversation with them? Maybe now is the time.

Make a promise to people that if either of you overdose the other one will help.

Life changing

Nothing affects someone as much as knowing they acted to save a life – or by not doing the right thing caused someone to die. Have the conversation with the people you use with, it could save your life.

Writer: Nigel Brunsdon

Nigel Brunsdon is the owner of Injecting Advice. He’s been working in harm reduction since the 1990’s, previously a frontline needle programme worker he now splits his time between photography and developing online resources for drugs workers and users.

Nigel Brunsdon

You might also like

Injecting Environments

Written on . Posted in .
How often do we talk to people about their injecting environment? And the effect this has on both their injecting risks and their perception of drug use.

Blue Lights (Update)

Written on . Posted in .
In June 2010 I wrote an article for Injecting Advice concerning fluorescent blue lights (and related harm) in public toilets. That previous article coincided with the publication of an academic paper in the journal Health and Place and both summar…

What to do about Faulty Needles

Written on . Posted in .
Every needle programme worker and every injector comes across them at some point, a needle that is either blunt or barbed before it’s ever used. But what should you do about it?

Images and content © Nigel Brunsdon unless stated otherwise, all rights reserved.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google
Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.