Naloxone (sometimes referred to as Narcan, its brand name) is an opioid antagonist that is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose by restoring breathing and brain function, thereby saving the life of the person experiencing an opioid overdose. Naloxone can be administered by a nasal spray or an injection.
Naloxone only works if someone has opioids in their system and has no effect if opioids are not present. Naloxone has no potential for abuse, is completely legal, and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Naloxone cannot make people high and it is safe for nearly everyone. A person who is given Naloxone and regains consciousness still requires emergency medical help, which is why calling 911 is an important step to responding to an opioid overdose.
To understand what Naloxone is and how it works in the body to reverse an opioid overdose, watch this short video from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (CAPT).
Using Narcan Nasal Spray
The DuPage Narcan Program utilizes Narcan nasal spray, or Naloxone, for all training participants and participating program sites. If you have access to Narcan nasal spray, review how to use it using this Quick Start Guide (PDF) or watch this video:
It is legal in Illinois for non-medical professionals to administer Naloxone to an individual experiencing opioid overdose. Naloxone is widely used by first responders as well as community members throughout Illinois.
Illinois also has a statewide standing order for Naloxone, which allows pharmacies and other organizations to dispense/provide naloxone to individuals at risk for opioid overdose, their friends/family, and other members of the general public, without the need for a direct prescription.