Opioid Overdose Prevention Education

Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a medication called an “opioid antagonist.” It is used to counter the effects of a morphine or heroin overdose. It is used to counteract life-threatening depression of the central nervous and respiratory stystems, allowing an overdose victim to breathe normally. It basically ruins the person’s high and brings them out of the drugged state. Narcan isn’t a life-saving guarantee though. It must be administered quickly and medical treatment should be sought immediately. It is a temporary drug that wears off in 20-90 minutes. The Naloxone may have to be administered a second time before reaching a hospital.

Naloxone is a non-addictive prescription medication. Although traditionally administered by emergency response personnel, Naloxone can be administered by minimally trained laypeople. Naloxone has no potential for abuse. Naloxone may be injected in the muscle, vein or under the skin or sprayed into the nose.

Thanks to new laws, users, family members and concerned friends can all carry Naloxone in the same way people with allergies are allowed to carry an epinephrine syringe (“epi-pen”). It is a prescription though. Talk to your doctor about carrying Naloxone if you have a loved-one at risk of overdosing.

Download this document for more information, how to get it and how to administer Naloxone.