Naloxone (Narcan)


Naloxone: A Lifesaving Medication

What Naloxone?

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. In the event of an overdose, a person’s breathing can be dangerously slowed or stopped, causing brain damage or death. Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing during an overdose.

Narcan nasal spraySigns of an overdose may include:

  • Small, constricted “pinpoint pupils”
  • Falling asleep or loss of consciousness
  • Limp body
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Choking or gurgling sounds
  • Cold and/or clammy skin
  • Discolored skin (especially in lips and nails)

Nalaxone is available as a nasal spray or can be injected into the muscle, under the skin, or in a vein. It can be safely given to people of all ages, from infants to older adults. Naloxone will not harm someone if you give it to them and they are not overdosing. If you suspect an overdose, administer Naloxone.

Who Should Carry Naloxone

Anyone at risk for an opioid overdose should carry naloxone, especially persons struggling with an Opioid Use Disorder. People who are taking a prescribed opioid medication, who use opioids and benzodiazepines together, and people who use illicit opioids like heroin should all carry naloxone. Because you can’t use naloxone on yourself, let others know you have it in case you experience an opioid overdose.

Carrying naloxone is no different than carrying an EpiPen for allergies. It is an extra layer of protection, in the event of an emergency. In nearly 40% of overdose deaths, someone else was present. Having naloxone available allows bystanders to help a potentially fatal overdose to save lives.

Naloxone is an over-the-counter medication available in all Munson Healthcare Emergency Departments and pharmacies without a prescription. In addition, Narcan Vending is available in many communities across Northern Michigan.

Map of Narcan Locations

What to Do If You Suspect an Overdose

  1. Call 911 immediately.
  2. Administer naloxone.
  3. Try to keep the person awake or breathing.
  4. Move the person to their left side to prevent choking.
  5. Stay with them until emergency assistance arrives.

Additional Naloxone Resources