Naloxone is an FDA-approved emergency treatment for opioid overdose. Sold under the brand name Narcan, it reverses an opioid overdose. It cannot be used to get high and is not addictive.
Opioids can slow or stop a person’s breathing, which causes death. Naloxone helps the person wake up and keeps them breathing. Given intravenously, it works within two minutes, and when injected into a muscle, it works within five minutes. It can also be used in the nose.
An overdose death may happen hours after taking drugs. If a bystander acts when they first notice a person’s breathing has slowed, or when they can’t awaken a user, there is time to call 911, start rescue breathing (if needed) and give naloxone. Available without a prescription in some pharmacies in Pennsylvania. To find one near you, click here.