What is Narcan/Naloxone

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist medicine that works to reverse an opioid overdose. The medication comes in two primary forms, nasal spray, and injectable Naloxone. It can only be used to reverse opioid overdoses such as oxycontin, fentanyl, methadone, vicodin, and Heroin. Naloxone will not reverse an overdose resulting from non-opioid drugs, like cocaine, benzodiazepines, or alcohol. Administering Naloxone to a non-opioid overdose victim will not harm them, it is safe. An additional dose of Naloxone can be administered every 2-3 minutes if an overdose victim is continuing to not respond. Narcan is the brand name for Naloxone.

Identify an Overdose 

An overdose is life-threatening and requires immediate emergency attention. Recognizing is the first step in reversing an overdose. A person may be overdosing if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:

  • Their face is extremely pale and/or feels clammy to the touch
  • Their body goes limp
  • Their fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
  • They start vomiting or making gurgling noises
  • They cannot be awakened or are unable to speak
  • Their breathing or heartbeat slows or stops

     If they exhibit any of these symptoms call 911 immediately. If the person has stopped breathing, begin CPR. If Narcan/Naloxone is available in the vicinity, take the necessary steps to administer the dose.


How to administer Naloxone nasal spray

  • Remove the nasal spray from the packaging and lay the person on their back.
  • Hold the nasal spray with your thumb on the bottom of the plunger and your middle fingers on either side of the nozzle.
  • Tilt the person’s head back and insert the nozzle into one nostril until your fingers are against their nose.
  • Press the plunger firmly to give the dose and remove the spray from the person’s nose.
  • If the person does not respond in 2-3 minutes, give a second dose from a new nasal spray (if available).

For a detailed guide on administering a dose of Naloxone nasal spray and best practices, click here.

To watch a video that demonstrates the steps on how to use Naloxone, click here.