888-500-9165 | Statewide Info-line info@biaaz.org

AFTER AN OVERDOSE – Lasting Effects on Your Brain:

Surviving an overdose can feel like getting a second chance at life. But a person who experiences overdose isn’t necessarily out of the woods yet. Overdose can have lasting effects on the brain and cognitive functioning.

Did you know?

  • An opioid overdose cuts off oxygen to the brain, often causing hypoxic or anoxicvbrain injury, even if the overdose is reversed with Narcan (Naloxone).
  • Even if you are revived and your life is saved, every overdose increases your risk of lasting damage to the brain.
  • If you have ever overdosed and now feel “different,” it is possible you have experienced a brain injury, which may result in temporary or permanent cognitive and/or physical impairments.

Symptoms of brain injury can include:

  • Foggy Thinking
  • Dizziness or Disorientation
  • Balance Issues
  • Slower Processing Speeds
  • Judgment Issues
  • Slurred Speech
  • Change or Disruption in Sleep Patterns
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Mood & Personality Problems
  • Memory Issues
  • Trouble Reading/Writing
  • Seizures
  • Vision and Hearing Issues

A survivor of brain injury may experience one or several of these symptoms; every brain injury is unique to the individual it affects.

If you currently use opioids or other drugs, quitting and entering treatment greatly decreases your chances of sustaining a harmful brain injury. If these options aren’t possible yet, reduce your use and practice harm reduction techniques to lower your chances of overdose until you are able to quit and get help.

Other possible causes of brain injury include falls, vehicle accidents, blows by/against an object, assault, intimate partner/domestic violence, and child abuse. Misusing opioids puts you and others at a higher risk for sustaining any of these types of injuries.

Free Harm Reduction Tools

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona provides free Narcan, lock boxes and gun locks to encourage safety and prevent brain injury. Check the items you are interested in.

Please check the items you are interested in —

Counseling Request Form

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) has the opportunity to provide ten free sessions with a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) to survivors of brain injury and their family members who are at-risk or struggling with substance misuse. 

Using substances other than as-prescribed by a healthcare provider can increase the risk of sustaining a brain injury due to falls, vehicle accidents, assaults, or family violence, as well as lead to homelessness and involvement in the justice system. Opioid use in particular can result in hypoxic or anoxic brain injuries (little or not oxygen to the brain) in the event of an overdose. 

Survivors of brain injury are often prescribed opioid medications for pain management, and may be more likely to become dependent or addicted to them. They may also have a more difficult path to recovery from both the addiction and the brain injury.

We invite you to speak with us about your concerns and goals so you can make informed decisions regarding your health and safety. To request substance misuse and addiction counseling services, please fill out electronic form below.


Best contact number to ready you.

In a few words, please let us know what concerns you'd like to address with the LCSW. THIS INFORMATION WILL BE KEPT CONFIDENTIAL.


What I Wish People Knew About Concussion

Liz Bradley

Additional Resources

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Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona

5025 E. Washington St, Ste 106
Phoenix, Arizona 85034


(602) 508-8024

Statewide Info-line
1 (888) 500-9165

Fax (602) 508-8285

BIAAZ is a chartered affiliate of the
United States Brain Injury Alliance.