What is Naloxone?
Naloxone is a prescription medicine that reverses opioid (prescription or heroin) overdoses. Also known by brand names “Narcan” or “Evzio.”
Is it safe?
Yes, naloxone is a non-narcotic and non-addicting prescription drug. It cannot be used to get high. For those who are using opioids, it can trigger safe, but sudden and sometimes severe withdrawal symptoms.
How does it work?
Naloxone works within minutes to restore breathing in people overdosing on opiate drugs. It blocks the receptors and essentially reverses the effects of the drugs. The effect of an opioid may last longer than the blocking of naloxone which may require an additional nasal dose of naloxone.
Where can I get it?
Naloxone is provided free to the community at Blair Drug and Alcohol Partnerships. If desired Naloxone can also be purchased from a pharmacy. Pharmacies provide the medication without a prescription-simply go to the pharmacy counter and request the medication. Your primary care physician can write a prescription that you can take to a pharmacy of your choice as well.
If purchasing the nasal spray-whether you obtain it from the pharmacy directly or the prescription from your doctor, it is important to either purchase two doses or ask your doctor to write the prescription for two doses.
What does this mean for members of the community?
Members of the community, family members, friends, and bystanders may be prescribed naloxone and can lawfully administer the drug to someone who is experiencing an overdose. Pennsylvania’s Physician General has written standing orders for the general public to be able to obtain naloxone without a prescription from their doctor. Although not necessary in order to obtain the medication it is recommended that individuals receive training to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose and to learn how to properly administer naloxone.
What is the Good Samaritan Provision?
Through the ‘Good Samaritan’ provision of Act 139, friends and loved ones are encouraged to summon emergency medical services by calling 911 in the event they witness an overdose. The law is meant to suppress the fear of arrest in calling authorities for an overdose event by offering certain criminal and civil protections for those that do. Law enforcement entities in other states that have implemented Good Samaritan protections for those who dial 911 in good faith have reported significant improvements in community relations.
David’s Law – ACT 139
Act 139 is a law that allows first responders (law enforcement, firefighters, EMS) acting at the direction of a health care professional authorized to prescribe naloxone, to administer the drug to individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. The law also provides immunity from prosecution for those responding to and reporting overdoses. Additionally, individuals such as friends or family members in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose may receive a prescription for naloxone.
Please see the below link for the recommended free Naloxone training video: https://www.pavtn.net/act-139-training
SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit: Five Essential Steps for First Responders