What is Narcan?

Narcan is a brand name for the life-saving medication naloxone. It is used to reverse opioid overdoses, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications. When administered in time, naloxone can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and restore normal breathing.

Here are some key things to know about Narcan:

  • It is a safe and effective medication that can save lives.
    • It is easy to use and can be administered by anyone, even without medical training.
      • It will not harm someone if they are not experiencing an opioid overdose.
        • It is important to call 911 after administering naloxone, even if the person wakes up. This is because the effects of naloxone wear off after a time, and the person could go back into overdose.

        Oxygen Use Recommended in Conjunction with Narcan

        As best practice, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends to administer emergency oxygen before, during and after Narcan reversal medication as included in the SAMHSA Opioid Tool Kit link included below.

        SAMHSA Opioid Tool Kit: Five Essential Steps for First Responders

        How does Narcan Work?

        Naloxone works by blocking opioid receptors in the brain. This prevents opioids from attaching to these receptors and producing their effects, such as slowed breathing and sedation. Naloxone can be administered in a number of ways, including nasal spray, injection, and even auto-injector.