An opioid overdose requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms.



You can make all the difference

Also known as NARCAN®, naloxone is a potentially lifesaving drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. It can be administered as an injection or nasal spray. When administered during an opioid overdose, naloxone disables an opioid’s harmful effects to the brain, temporarily reversing an opioid overdose.

Taking too many opioids slows down breathing until it stops entirely. Naloxone works by quickly attaching to the same parts of the brain where opioids attach. This immediately replaces the opioid and helps the affected person start breathing again and regain consciousness.

Although it saves lives, it is only effective for an opioid overdose and is otherwise harmless. It’s important to know that the effects of naloxone wear off after 30-45 minutes, so call 911 or seek medical help immediately. In Minnesota, naloxone is available for anyone to carry as a preventative measure.
Take action. Here's how:

Naloxone is a potentially life-saving drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, knowing how to administer naloxone can help change the outcome.

  1. Evaluate the person's responsiveness and breathing. Check for signs such as unresponsiveness, shallow or no breathing, and pinpoint pupils.
  2. Dial 911 right away. Notify them of a possible opioid overdose and provide the exact location. Minnesota's Good Samaritan law makes sure you can’t be arrested for helping.
  3. If you have naloxone, follow the instructions on the packaging to prepare it for use. Naloxone is available as a nasal spray or an injectable form.
  4. Lay the person on a firm surface or floor, flat on their back. Tilt their head back slightly to help open their airway. Rolling a towel behind their neck can help.
  5. If the naloxone is a nasal spray, remove the cap and insert the nozzle into one nostril. Administer a single dose by pressing the plunger firmly. If needed, administer a second dose in the other nostril after a few minutes.
  6. If you have the injectable form of naloxone, locate a muscle in the upper arm or thigh. Remove the cap from the needle and inject the naloxone at a 90-degree angle into the muscle. Press the plunger down completely to deliver the full dose.
  7. After administering naloxone, watch the person's response. If they start breathing on their own, roll them onto their side to prevent choking. Stay with the person until emergency medical help arrives.
  8. While administering naloxone is an important emergency intervention, it does not replace the need for professional medical assistance. Always seek immediate medical help after administering naloxone.

Anyone can administer naloxone. This video will walk you through the steps.

Naloxone FAQs

Q: What is naloxone?

A: Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose by blocking the action of opioids in the body.

Q: How does naloxone work?

A: Naloxone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and displacing any opioids present. It rapidly blocks the action of opioids and reverses the effects, restoring normal respiration.

Q: What is naloxone used for?

A: Naloxone is primarily used to treat opioid overdoses, including those caused by prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. It is commonly used in emergency situations where opioid overdose is suspected.

Q: How is naloxone administered?

A: Naloxone can be administered through injection, nasal spray, and auto-injector. Although injection is the most common and effective method, nasal spray or auto-injector formulations allow easy and quick administration by non-medical personnel.

Q: Are there any side effects of naloxone?

A: Naloxone generally has few side effects, but they can include withdrawal symptoms in individuals who are physically dependent on opioids. These symptoms may include sweating, agitation, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, and increased blood pressure. Still, the benefits of naloxone far outweigh any potential side effects.

Q: Can naloxone be harmful if given to a person who is not experiencing an opioid overdose?

A: Naloxone is relatively safe, and it does not produce any significant effects in individuals who do not have opioids in their system. If naloxone is administered to someone who has not taken opioids, it is unlikely to cause any harm.

Q: Is naloxone available without a prescription?

A: In Minnesota, naloxone is available without a prescription. It is often distributed through community-based programs, pharmacies, and harm reduction initiatives to make it more accessible for individuals at risk of opioid overdose or those who may witness an overdose. The naloxone finder can help you find naloxone in a place that’s closest to you

Q: How long does naloxone last in the body?

A: The effects of naloxone typically last between 30 to 90 minutes. However, the duration can vary depending on the dose administered, the individual's metabolism, and the type of opioid involved. It is important to seek medical help even after naloxone administration to ensure the person's safety.

Q: If naloxone works, is medical emergency care still necessary?

A: Yes. Even though naloxone can be very effective, it is not a substitute for seeking medical emergency care. It is an important first aid response to an opioid overdose, but it does not replace the need for professional medical attention. Always call 911 immediately when administering naloxone. It’s worth remembering that individuals revived by naloxone are not always happy about it. But even if they’re upset that you intervened, you’ve done the right thing.