Reporting Controlled Substance Overdoses

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Texas state law, Texas Health and Safety Code §161.042, requires health care providers, or any person treating a Penalty Group 1 drug overdose to report the overdose to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) immediately.

An overdose happens when too much of a substance which can have harmful effects to the body’s functions. Drug overdoses may be accidental or intentional. If you’ve taken more than the recommended amount of a drug or enough to have a harmful effect on your body’s functions, you have overdosed.

An overdose can lead to serious medical complications, including death. The severity of a drug overdose depends on the drug, the amount taken, and the physical and medical history of the person who overdosed.

Until recently, a person would have to call the Texas Poison Center Network (TPCN) to report an overdose. Now, DSHS created an electronic reporting form to make reporting of Penalty Group 1 drug overdoses easier. Please call TPCN for any questions or advice related to Penalty Group 1 overdoses, exposures, or treatments.

How to Report an Overdose

Please report cases within 24 hours to DSHS. The law states the reports must include the following:

  • Date of overdose
  • Type of controlled substance used
  • Sex and approximate age of patient
  • Symptoms associated with overdose
  • Extent of treatment necessary
  • Patient outcome

Note: Do not report the patient's name, address, or details about patient identity.


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Penalty Group 1 Drugs

Penalty Group 1 drugs are classified by Texas Health and Safety Code §481.102. and include the following:

  • Opioids
  • Cocaine
  • GHB
  • Ketamine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines


For more information on what DSHS is doing about substance use including opioids, see the Agency Action Plan to Address Substance Use.

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