What is Narcan?

Also called naloxone, Narcan is a safe, easy-to-use prescription medication that reverses an opioid overdose from drugs like heroin, morphine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), methadone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and other prescription pain medications.

Opioids can slow or stop a person’s breathing, which causes death. Naloxone helps the person wake up and keeps them breathing. Narcan has been used in hospitals and by paramedics for decades.  It cannot be used to get high and is not addictive. It can be injected or administered as a nasal spray.

How long does Narcan take to work?

Naloxone acts in 2-5 minutes. If the person doesn’t wake up in 5 minutes, bystanders should give a second dose. (Rescue breathing should be done while you wait for the naloxone to take effect to that the person gets oxygen to their brain.)

Can naloxone wear off before the drugs that cause the overdose?

Yes. Naloxone typically wears off in 30-90 minutes and the person can stop breathing again unless more naloxone is available. For this reason, it is safest to call 911 and have the person taken for medical care.

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