Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan®, is a prescription medicine that can be used on someone for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. The medicine temporarily reverses or blocks the effects of opioid medicines until proper emergency medical care can be administered.
When someone overdoses, their breathing will get very slow and may even stop. They may appear to be sleeping. Look at their lips and fingernails - pale, blue, or a gray color - is a sign of an overdose.
When an overdose is suspected, naloxone should be given immediately. If naloxone is administered to someone who is determined later not to be experiencing an opioid overdose, the medicine will not affect them, as it only works on opioids. Naloxone has been proven safe and effective in children as well.
What to Do if You Think Someone is Overdosing
Naloxone is given through a nasal spray or injected from a vial with a needle. If you come upon someone who you think has taken drugs and may be overdosing:
1. Check for signs of breathing
2. Call 9-1-1 immediately
3. Give naloxone in 3 easy steps
4. Wait 3 minutes. If the person has not responded after 3 minutes, give a second dose.
The Good Samaritan Law allows for a person acting in good faith to administer naloxone, or another opioid antagonist, to an individual appearing to be experiencing an opiate-related overdose without fear of prosecution or civil liability.