What is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a medication that can quickly reverse an overdose from either prescribed painkillers or illicit forms of opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.  Naloxone is available in multiple forms, including intramuscular injection and nasal spray.  

Naloxone does not affect someone who does not have opioids in their system, and it is not a treatment for opioid use disorder.  It can be effective with both prescribed painkillers, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®) and hydrocodone (Vicodin®), as well as illicit opioids like heroin and fentanyl. 

This short animation depicts how Naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversal medication, works in the body. 

For more information please visit SAMHSA’s website. 

Two types of naloxone

                       Intra-muscular Naloxone                                                                                                   Narcan Nasal Spray

Why Do I Need Naloxone in My Home?

If you have a prescription for opioid medication in your home, it is a good idea to have Naloxone on hand as a safety measure. Naloxone can be safely administered to anyone experiencing an opioid overdose or poisoning by opioids, including young children and infants. 

How Safe is Naloxone?

Naloxone is very safe. It is only effective for someone who is experiencing an opioid-related overdose.  It will have no negative effect if their medical emergency is a result of something other than opioids. 

What Are The Possible Legal Consequences for Administering Naloxone?

California’s 911 Good Samaritan Law protects you from arrest, charge, and prosecution when you call 911 at the scene of a suspected drug overdose. Nobody at the scene should be charged for personal amounts of drugs or paraphernalia.

The law does not protect you if:

  • You have more drugs than “possession for personal use”; it is still illegal to have any amount that would suggest trafficking or sales.
  • You “obstruct medical or law enforcement personnel”; it is still important to not intervene with activities of police or emergency personnel.
  • You are on parole/probation; it is likely still a violation.
  • You are driving under the influence at the time of the incident.

How Do I Obtain Naloxone?

Ask your health care provider to prescribe Naloxone when you get an opioid prescription. Additionally, many pharmacies carry Naloxone and you may be able to get Naloxone from a pharmacist in some states without a prescription. It is also possible to get Naloxone from community-based distribution programs, local public health groups, or local health departments free of charge.

Visit the Naloxone finder website to see resources in your area and check with your local pharmacy.

  • If you are an eligible entity (non-profit organization, school/university, law enforcement agency, religious organization, first responder agency, etc.) in California, you are eligible to apply to receive free Naloxone from the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). For more information on DHCS’s Naloxone Distribution Program, click here. To access the application, click here
  • If you live in Contra Costa County contact our coalition at (510)-949-5691 for free Naloxone. For other US locations, contact NCAPDA at (925) 480-7723.
  • If you are an individual, you may request free Naloxone through NEXT Distro, which is an online nationwide Naloxone training and distribution service that ships Naloxone to you free of charge.

Naloxone Training

Learn how to use Naloxone through an online or in-person training. 

Sign up to complete a training with us in-person

Complete an online training through Get Naloxone Now, or watch our short 5 minute naloxone training below. 


For More Information:

Watch the video below to learn how to administer intra-muscular Naloxone.

Download the CDC Fact Sheet

Click here to download.

CDPH Xylazine Fact Sheet

Important: Xylazine is NOT an opioid and Narcan (Naloxone) will not reverse its effects. However, you should still administer Narcan in case of a suspected overdose because Xylazine is frequently mixed with opioids. 

Learn more here.