May 26, 2019  Last Update: November 27, 2017, 8:52 pm

Somebody Really Should Click “Report Abuse”

Painkiller Overdose call for help posted to the Yahoo! Answers forum

Yahoo! Answers is a user forum for asking questions and getting answers from the community. Usually, the questions are things like “how can I talk to a guy I like?” and “What should I do after this date”. This week, we saw a question asked (and answered),

“I took too many painkillers, what should I do?”

The question detailed the crisis:

"About 32 hours ago i took 11 painkillers and nine hours before that i took 10. Please don’t ask why, just help me! I have tried not eating or drinking for a few hours but when i drank water just now i threw it up. I feel weak. should i just continue to starve it out or do i need a doctor? when will i stop throwing up?"
- Yahoo! Answers 11/22/2011

I once worked the phones at a Poison Control Center, and back then we theorized about how the Internet might, some day, make call centers like that obsolete. The debate rapidly moved towards the person-to-person element of Poison Control and Suicide Prevention hotlines (since as every poison control technician knows, many of the calls are actually suicide prevention calls).

Here we are Thanksgiving week, 2011. A person in crisis posts to Yahoo! Answers, and (I presume) waits for a response.

The responses came in within minutes. “Go to the hospital”, “call your doctor”, “let your parents know”, and of course the expected “Just beeeeeeeeeeee highhhhhhhhh” response.

This a almost real time back and forth between crisis-mode drug misuser and “the public”. The poster followed up:

Additional Details: i know where you guys are coming from when you say i should go to the hospital, but are you sure it isn’t a little late for that? i mean, it’s been over 24 hours... is there any use?

and eventually awarded one of the forum contributors with karma points for this “best answer”:

"it’s good to be throwing up.. ur getting it out of you.. u should start to feel better.. don’t go to sleep."

and a report of the 5 Star outcome:

"thanks. i told my dad and i didn’t go to the hospital. I lived through it and feel fine now. thank you so much, everyone! (Won’t EVER do that again, haha)..."

Ha ha. Yes, indeed. Please click below to share this story and raise awareness:

User posts cry for help to Yahoo! Answers: "I just took 21 painkillers, am sick, feel weak. Please help me!"





  1. I thought I’d comment here from what is probably a unique perspective.

    For about a year, I spent hours a week on, providing answers on addiction, recovery and their surrounding issues. For quite some time I moderated the addiction and alcoholism categories. I distinctly recall the above exchanges, and they were among the several reasons I quit. has no control over the information on the site, apart from the efforts of volunteer moderators and others who are willing to go over answers to questions and make corrections. Most of the “answerers” (now there’s a clumsy word) on the site have no affiliation with it. In essence it’s a huge wiki. Trolls, misinformation and simple-minded comments abound. Some of the categories are at odds with each other as well — for example, addiction and various ways to get high.

    I found that I spent most of my time correcting misinformation and removing dangerous answers such as the one above. No question; I created quite a body of good answers, but they were a drop in the bucket. I finally gave up when I realized that I couldn’t keep my finger in the dike, and that I was supporting a site that, by its nature, had the potential to do as much harm as good. It was a difficult decision, but one that seemed and still seems right.

    Answers and similar sites are fine in theory, but impractical in practice because of the impossibility of determining if the people who write the answers have any real idea what they’re talking about. The sections on teen love problems are one thing, but issues such as addiction, prescription drugs, mental problems and similar areas are quite another.

    In my rather less than humble opinion, the Internet is a potential source of valuable help. However, any such effort needs to be tightly curated. Sites like Answers, where there is no quality control, siphon off huge quantities of readers that could potentially find other sites where they can get good information consistently.


  2. Hi Bill and thanks for the comment.

    Crazy stuff up there on the Internets, especially these open-cesspool sites like Answers and Topix and such. We’ve not even scratched the surface of crazy, when looking at what is hosted in the public forums.

    One of the big differences between an “answers” site and a forum is debate. With an answers site, there isn’t accommodation for debate. It’s a set of answers, and no discussion. Additional answers should not address prior answers… just add another answer or perspective. The end result is oten not a very useful or helpful page.

    As for actual helpful info, we like It’s brand new, but moderated and targeted, with a focus on adding only helpful info on addiction/detox/rehab topics. There’s a karma system and some controls on membership. Submitters get a profile that can be associated with their real agenda, and drive-by trolls are edited out. If you get an account and get to a certain level of participation, you might find it a good place to post.

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