Preventing an Overdose

The Know Overdose Nevada County campaign promotes harm reduction, a set of practical strategies aimed at reducing the negative consequences associated with drug use. You can learn more about the principles of harm reduction here.

Below are key overdose prevention strategies with links to additional information and resources. The National Harm Reduction Coalition also has great tips and information to reduce the risk of overdose.

Nevada County also has local treatment resources that focus on reducing harm, including medication-assisted treatment options.

Each strategy or tool reduces the risk of overdose and death. The more tools and strategies someone uses, the safer their use.

  • Carry Narcan™/Naloxone: This opioid overdose reversal drug saves lives and is an important tool in preventing overdose deaths. You can learn more about Narcan™ at our Narcan™ and Fentanyl Test strips page.
  • Test drugs with fentanyl test strips: Fentanyl is now widespread in the drug supply. Locally we have heard of fentanyl in counterfeit pills (Alprazolam, Xanax, Percocet, and others), cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA (ecstasy or Molly), among others. Fentanyl test strips are an important tool to test your drugs for the presence of fentanyl, though they do have limitations. You can learn more information about fentanyl test strips at our Narcan™ and Fentanyl Test strips page and make sure to review DanceSafe’s detailed fentanyl test strip instructions.
  • Manage use through treatment, including medication-assisted treatment options. Not all treatment options take an abstinence-only approach. Nevada County has a range of local resources to support people who use drugs in reducing harm.
  • Don’t use alone–have someone you trust nearby (with Narcan™) or on the phone: Using alone can increase the risk of overdose death because no one is there to give Narcan™, call for help, or take care of you. At the same time, not using alone is a privilege and many people hide their substance use due to stigma or for safety reasons. (800-484-3731) is a great resource that is available 24/7 so folks don’t have to use alone.
  • Start Slow: Many factors can affect how our bodies respond to drugs and overdose risk, including tolerance, the quality of drugs, whether we know which drugs are in the product we’re using (i.e. laced with fentanyl or other drugs), and other factors. Starting slow with lower doses can reduce overdose risk.
  • Be careful when mixing drugs: The majority of overdose deaths occur when drugs are mixed, whether intentionally or unintentionally. This is particularly true with fentanyl, where someone may not know it is in the drugs they are using. You can learn more about some of the harms associated with mixing drugs here.
  • Be aware of how you’re feeling (emotionally and physically): Your mindset when you are using drugs can impact decision-making, including the risks you’re willing to take. Physical health can also impact how your body responds to the drugs you use.