What is Naloxone

On November 29, 2014 the Pennsylvania Legislature passed Act 139. This law includes the use of Narcan, a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medicine, to be prescribed to a 3rd party, such as a friend or family member. It can also be administered by law enforcement and firefighters. Act 139 also provides legal protections for witnesses, or good samaritans, seeking medical help at the scene of an overdose.

What Is Naloxone?

  • Naloxone is an FDA approved medication that is proven to reverse opioid (prescription medication or heroin) overdoses; please talk to your pharmacist if you would like to purchase Naloxone.
  • It was approved by the FDA in 1971 and has been used successfully in emergency rooms and ambulances for decades.
  • Also known by brand names “Narcan” or “Evzio.”
  • Although having an overdose reversed by naloxone is extremely unpleasant for the overdosed individual, naloxone has no other adverse side effects and is not addictive.

How Does It Work?

  • Naloxone works within minutes to restore breathing in people overdosing on opiate drugs by blocking opiate receptors and essentially reversing the effects of opioid drugs such as heroin.
  • It is essential that after the administration of the naloxone the overdosed patient be taken immediately for emergency medical care.
Narcan Nasal Spray

Signs of an overdose

  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Very sleepy and unable to talk, or unconscious
  • Does not respond to attempts to rouse to consciousness
  • Skin color is blue or grayish, with dark lips and fingernails
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds

If There Are Symptoms of an Overdose...

  • Lightly tap, shake, and shout at the person to get a response. If there is no response, rub knuckles on the breast bone.
  • If the person responds, keep them awake.
  • Call 911
If There Is Little or No Response...
  • Call 911 - If you have access to naloxone, administer it according to the package instructions.
  • If you have administered a dose of naloxone and the person is still unconscious after 3 minutes, administer a 2nd dose of naloxone.