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What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids—including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications—when given in time. Naloxone is easy to use and small to carry.  Naloxone spray can be used by anyone. It is also called Narcan.

Naloxone quickly reverses an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids. It can restore normal breathing to a person within 2 to 3 minutes if breathing has slowed, or even stopped, as a result of opioid overdose. More than one dose of naloxone may be required.

Naloxone won’t harm someone if they’re overdosing on drugs other than opioids, so it’s always best to use it if you think someone is overdosing.

If you give someone naloxone, call 911 and stay with them until emergency help arrives.

How it works

Naloxone attaches to the same brain receptors as opioids. It kicks off the opioids and “takes over” the receptors, causing opioid withdrawal to happen. This restores breathing and consciousness in about 2-5 minutes.

The effects of naloxone lasts about 30-90 minutes. Any opioids still in the brain can return to the receptors. The person may stop breathing again. Naloxone will not reverse the effects of other drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, or benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax®, Klonopin® and Valium®). But naloxone can still block the effect of opioids (and reverse the overdose) even if the person has also taken one or more of these other drugs.

Learn more about naloxone.

How to Use Naloxone Spray

Watch how simple it is to use naloxone spray for someone who is unconscious.

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