Emergency Overdose Reversal
What is Narcan?
Narcan, a brand name for opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, is a prescription drug capable of reversing an opioid-related overdose. It is the only drug capable of saving someone from death by opioid overdose.
How to use Narcan
Naloxone or Narcan nasal spray is the most common way to administer the opioid overdose reversal drug. This video from the Boston Herald demonstrates how to properly administer Narcan nasal spray.
How to get a naloxone prescription and training
Naloxone or Narcan can only be prescribed by a doctor and picked up at a pharmacy.
Physicians who find themselves in a situation where they must give out high-dosage opioid prescriptions, or receive a new patient who is already on a high dose of opioids, frequently prescribe Narcan to a family member or to the pain patient themselves, as a precautionary measure.
However, you can also ask for a naloxone prescription if you find yourself in a situation where someone close to you is at risk for opioid overdose. Naloxone has no known negative side-effects, so it can even be administered in cases where you are unsure if the person is overdosing.
Pharmacies are responsible for training the prescribed party on the correct use of naloxone for opioid overdose reversal, but the video above and many others online also demonstrate the training.
Who else has naloxone?
Law enforcement and emergency first responders such as paramedics often carry naloxone with them, but that depends on the area and frequency of opioid overdose in the area in which emergency first responders work.
Call your local law enforcement office to find out if your emergency first responders have access to naloxone. If they don’t, it’s a good idea to request it.
Good Samaritan and naloxone access laws
Good Samaritan laws vary from state to state, but generally provide legal protection for those who assist a person who is in danger of opioid overdose. Oregon has both Good Samaritan laws and naloxone access laws.
Visit Legal Science, LLC's interactive map to check the naloxone access and Good Samaritan laws in all 50 states.
Next: Where to get help »