Opioid drugs, such as heroin and oxycodone, bring a high risk of overdose. If you or someone you know is using opioids, you should carry naloxone, a medication that can safely reverse the toxic effects of an overdose.
Naloxone, known by brand names like NARCAN and EVZIO, is a medicine that can immediately stop an opioid overdose by blocking the drug’s interaction with the brain. It can be administered through the nose (as a spray) or injected. Naloxone is safe and effective, but because it has a temporary effect, it’s important to call 911 immediately after an overdose.
Naloxone is available through pharmacies including CVS, Walmart and Sam’s Club, and Walgreens. Most states allow its purchase without a prescription. Call your local pharmacy to make sure it carries naloxone and has it available. Some states, counties, and cities have community programs that distribute it for free, so check with your local public health office as well.
The cost of naloxone varies depending on the type and your insurance coverage. Two doses of NARCAN costs around $150, and costs are rising. Some states and community organizations are distributing free naloxone.
No. A growing body of research shows that naloxone does not lead to increased drug use. Naloxone is safe and effective, and it saves lives.
This website, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, summarizes state laws that are related to opioids and that provide legal immunity for good Samaritans who administer naloxone. These laws vary by state. For example, if you were using drugs with someone who overdosed and you administered naloxone and called 911, in some states you could be prosecuted, but in others you would be immune from criminal sanctions. Most states have protections.
Get Naloxone Now offers free overdose prevention and naloxone training. Created by clinicians for potential bystanders and first responders, the site helps people learn to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to use naloxone to save someone who has overdosed.