When to Call 911
Understand that making the decision to call 911 can be a difficult one, but it could save a life. If your loved one is in the middle of an overdose, is going through a non-medically supervised detox from alcohol, or is exhibiting dangerous behavior because of drugs or alcohol, calling 911 may be your safest and quickest option to help someone in need.
Call 911 when:
- The person is overdosing or is showing signs of potential overdose.
- You or others are in danger, or the person is in danger of hurting him/herself.
- The person tried to ‘detox’ themselves off alcohol, and are having seizures or experiencing a heart attack symptoms, etc.
- The person is acting erratically or has shown escalating unstable behavior, like severe yelling, pacing, exhibiting other threatening or potentially violent behaviors, or has a history of self-harm.
When you call 911, try to remain as calm as possible and answer questions such as the type of behavior being exhibited, the substance (s) being used and any history of similar behavior (and outcome), and location. You may be asked to remain on the line until help arrives.
If you are in danger, remove yourself from the location and call 911 from a safe location.
Ask where the person is being taken. In New Jersey, often times police or an ambulance will take someone exhibiting erratic behavior to the nearest Emergency Room or Psychiatric Emergency Screening Services (PESS) department.