June 2, 2020

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Medical Attention for Drug Ingestion

Gordon Graham
Category: Law Enforcement

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol.  

Today I want to talk about what to do when you think that someone in your custody may have swallowed drugs to destroy evidence. Maybe you saw it or maybe it happened before you arrived.  

First, don’t ignore it. If you think that the person ingested drugs you should call for medical assistance.

Here are some things you should do. First, don’t ignore it. Even if you didn’t see it. Even if the person is denying it. If you think that the person ingested drugs you should call for medical assistance. Get appropriate medical attention right away. 

Look for symptoms including shallow or no breathing, disorientation, or drowsiness. If the victim is conscious, try to keep them awake. Check for pale clammy skin or overheating. Other symptoms may include loss of consciousness, abdominal pain, and seizures. 

If the victim loses consciousness, turn them onto their side to avoid choking or aspiration if vomiting occurs. 

This is critical. Try to determine what drug or drugs were taken, how much was ingested, and when it occurred. Look for drug containers, syringes, needles, and other drug paraphernalia. Find out if alcohol is involved. 

Here are some things you should not do. Don’t put the person in the shower. A large temperature change could put them into shock.  

Don’t let the victim sleep. It will be easier to monitor their condition. And they may be able to provide critical information to medical responders. 

Don’t induce vomiting. The idea that vomiting will eliminate the toxic substance is false. The victim could choke on their own vomit. 

Don’t let the victim ingest food or liquid without specific instructions from a medical professional. 

Don’t leave the patient alone for long periods. It’s OK to step out to look for a medication bottle or call for assistance but keep it short. 

The hotline for the National Capital Poison Center, also known as Poison Control, is 1-800-222-1222. Put it in your phone. Look up and store the local drug overdose hotline number in your phone as well.  

And that’s Today Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off. 

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