Naloxone is a medication used to prevent opioid overdose by blocking opioid receptor sites and thereby reversing the toxic effects of the drug. Common brands of naloxone include Narcan® and Evzio®. Naloxone can be administered by intranasal spray, intramuscularly, subcutaneously, or through intravenous injection. If administered in time, naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Have It On Hand

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) encourages Minnesotans to have naloxone on hand for themselves, family members, or anyone else at risk of an overdose. People particularly at risk of opioid overdose, include people that:

  • are prescribed high doses of prescription opioids
  • use opioids following detoxification, a period of sobriety, or incarceration (due to reduced tolerance)
  • use opioids in combination with sedatives like benzodiazepines
  • take prescription opioids not prescribed to them
  • take prescription opioids other than as prescribed
  • use heroin

How To Get Naloxone

Anyone in Minnesota may get naloxone at a pharmacy without a prescription from their doctor. MDH reports that pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens have protocols in place to make naloxone available. If a particular pharmacy doesn’t carry naloxone, MDH suggests asking it to adopt the state of Minnesota’s naloxone protocol.

Physicians may also prescribe naloxone to a third party, like a family member or friend, and physicians and pharmacists can teach patients and others how to administer naloxone.

For more information about naloxone prescribing and dispensing, visit the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy website. The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation also provides resources on naloxone and hosts public training sessions.

For additional information about how to prevent opioid overdose, see SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit.