Naloxone is an opioid receptor antagonist that rapidly binds to opioid receptors, blocking heroin from activating them. An appropriate dose of naloxone acts in less than 2 minutes and completely eliminates all signs of opioid intoxication to reverse an opioid overdose.1 In 2018, there were over 550,000 naloxone prescriptions dispensed nationwide.2
Naloxone that can be used by nonmedical personnel has been shown to be cost-effective and save lives.
In April 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a naloxone hand-held auto-injector called Evzio®, which rapidly delivers a single dose of naloxone into the muscle or under the skin, buying time until medical assistance can arrive.3
Narcan® is an FDA approved prescription nasal spray that is used to stop a person from overdosing on opioids. It is a nasal form of naloxone.
Both Evzio® and Narcan® can be used on both adults and children and can be administered by first responders, family members, or caregivers.
Through a standing order, naloxone is now available at pharmacies throughout Massachusetts with or without a prescription.
The Commission also promotes free online Overdose Prevention & Bystander Training. Learn more.
In addition, watch their video below to learn how to dispense naloxone to a person who is overdosing.
1Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Research Report Series: Heroin. November 2014, Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).
2Source: Vital Signs: Pharmacy-Based Naloxone Dispensing — United States, 2012–2018, (CDC).
3Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA). Research Report Series: Heroin. November 2014, Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).