Naloxone: Overdose Antidote


Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is an opioid antidote. It blocks the effects of opioids, such as heroin, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, and can immediately reverse an overdose.  It has no effect when given to someone who is not using opioids, but may cause withdrawal symptoms in someone using an opioid.

Because naloxone only affects persons who have used an opioid, it is considered very safe and it is increasingly being carried by police officers and other first responders as a life-saving tool. Training in the use of naloxone is not only offered to first responders but also to family and friends of persons who are at risk of an overdose.

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, through its REVIVE! program, offers training for “lay rescuers” and can assist law enforcement agencies in training their officers.

In addition, some pharmacies have a standing order for naloxone, allowing a person to obtain it directly from the pharmacist without a prescription.