While the information is alarming, it is important to note that there are things people can do to reduce their risk of overdose upon release. Here are a few things we share with incarcerated individuals during our groups:
Do a little less if you haven’t used lately. Even if it’s only been a few days, your body may react to the drug like it did when you first began to use. If your health has worsened or you’ve lost weight since your last use, consider that too when measuring your dose
Take the drug in a way that gets you high more slowly—snorting heroin or cocaine rather than injecting it, for example
Try to use with someone who knows what to do in case you go out. If you must use alone, let a friend know so they can check in on you
Try to find out as much as you can about the stuff you plan to use: it may have gotten stronger since the last time you tried it
Be careful if you’re using a new drug, as it will be hard to know how much to do. Try to use with someone who has some experience with the drug you’re doing, and with new users.