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Naloxone FAQs

  • If you or a loved one struggles with opioid use, you should have naloxone nearby to reverse any overdoses. 
  • Ask family and friends to carry it and let them know where your naloxone is kept, in case they need to use it. 
  • People who have previously used opioids and have stopped are at a higher risk of an overdose. This includes people who have completed a detox program, have recently been released from jail, a residential treatment center or hospital. These people now have a lower tolerance for opioids and can overdose more easily. 
  • More street drugs are laced with a potent opioid, fentanyl. Even if you or a loved one isn’t using an opioid drug, other street drugs could cause an overdose. 
  • Naloxone is very safe and saves lives. It can be given to anyone showing signs of an opioid overdose, even if you are not sure if they have used opioids. Naloxone is not addictive and cannot be used to get high.
  • Naloxone has been proven to be extremely safe, with no negative effects on the body if the person has not used opioids. 
  • Naloxone can be used on pregnant women in overdose situations.
  • Naloxone dose not cause any life-threatening side effects.

**People with physical dependence on opioids may have signs of withdrawal within minutes after they are given naloxone, but this is normal and good because it means that the naloxone is helping the person to breathe again. Normal withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, changes in blood pressure, anxiety, rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and tremors. These symptoms are not life threatening but can be uncomfortable.**

  • Naloxone nasal sprays begin working within minutes after they are given and should help the person wake up and breathe again. 
  • If a person does not respond to the first dose of naloxone within 2-3 minutes, a second dose should be given. If using a nasal spray, a second dose requires a second spray bottle. 
  • Naloxone works for 30-90 minutes but because many opioids remain in the body longer than that, it is possible for a person to show signs of an overdose after naloxone wears off. Therefor, one of the most important steps is to call 911 so the person can receive medical attention to monitor their breathing and treat these possible effects. You should wait for emergency personnel to arrive and tell them about the products and doses you gave the patient. 
  • Non-responsive to voice and sternal chest rub (rubbing knuckles over collarbones). 
  • Slow, weak, or not breathing; or slow, shallow breaths. May make deep snoring or gurgling sound. 
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Limp body
  • Cold and/or clammy skin
  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)

How to use naloxone

  • Peel open package. Refer to administration guide on and in the box of medication.
  • Spray naloxone into person’s nostril: hold spray device with thumb on bottom of red plunger and two fingers around nozzle- don’t spray until the nozzle is in the person’s nostrils. Press red plunger firmly to release dose of naloxone into person’s nose. 
  • Wait two minutes for it to take effect. Person will start breathing and come to. If not, spray another dose in the other nostril, if you have a second dose of naloxone. 
  • Administer CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive if the person is still not responsive or breathing. 
  • How to administer nasal Narcan (naloxone) spray
  • How to use naloxone (various nasal sprays or injectables)
    • Never use alone

Note: Giving multiple doses of naloxone is sometimes necessary. If fentanyl is involved, because of its strength, overdoses can occur quickly and may require multiple doses of naloxone. 

                  Stop an overdose with Naloxone 


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