Back To Top

Opioid Overdose Prevention

Naloxone can stop an overdose. With it, you can save a life.

Opioid drugs, such as heroin, oxycodone, and fentanyl, 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.

What is naloxone?

Naloxone, known by brand names like Narcan and RiVive, 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.

Where can I get naloxone?

Naloxone is available through pharmacies including CVS, Walmart and Sam’s Club, and Walgreens. All 50 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.

What are the signs of an overdose?

Recognizing an opioid overdose can be difficult. If you aren’t sure, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose—you could save a life. Call 911 or seek medical care for the individual. Do not leave the person alone. Signs of an overdose may include:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Pale, blue, or cold skin

Learn more about recognizing and responding to an overdose by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.

How much does naloxone cost?

The cost of naloxone varies depending on the type and your insurance coverage. Two doses of Narcan costs anywhere from $40 to $80. Some states and community organizations are distributing free naloxone.

Does access to naloxone give someone an excuse to take more drugs?

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.