Naloxone is a prescription medication that reverses an opioid overdose caused by pain medication, heroin or fentanyl. Naloxone acts in 2-5 minutes; if the treated person doesn’t wake up in 5 minutes, a second dose of naloxone should be administered. While naloxone will not harm the individual, the overdose victim may wake up with withdrawal symptoms.
Under the NC Naloxone Access Law, you are protected from a lawsuit or legal action for giving someone else naloxone.
Where Can I
There are several resources for obtaining naloxone across the state of North Carolina.
Pharmacies are authorized to dispense naloxone without a prescription to the public if the person requesting naloxone meets the following conditions:
- They are at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose
- They are a family member or friend of a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose
- They are in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose
Health Departments across many counties in North Carolina offer naloxone.
Syringe Exchange Programs
Syringe Exchange Programs offer overdose rescue kits (intramuscular or intranasal naloxone and directions for use) or referrals to sources for naloxone. Many programs provide naloxone kits free of charge to people who use drugs, their friends, their family members and others who may be able to respond quickly in the event of an overdose.
NC Harm Reduction Coalition
The NC Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) distributes free overdose rescue kits to the following groups of people: active IV drug users, people on medication-assisted treatment, formerly incarcerated people with a history of opioid use, people engaged in sex work or people who identify as transgender.
How Do I
Learn the basics of using naloxone to reverse an overdose at the following link, or download and print the NCHRC pamphlet below for more information.
Increasing Access to Naloxone
In Your Community
Consider these local strategies to increase access to naloxone:
- Work with your local health department, local officials, and community partners to conduct an inventory of who is distributing naloxone, how much they are distributing, and how this compares to the number and location of opioid overdoses that are occurring in your community.
- Implement naloxone distribution standing orders through your local health department or community-based organizations, and distribute naloxone to persons at risk of overdose.
- Work with local pharmacies to ensure that they are stocking naloxone and are prepared to discuss naloxone with customers in an informed and supportive way.
- Work with Emergency Medical Services to distribute naloxone to persons at risk of overdose along with their families and loved ones.
- Work with law enforcement agencies to increase the number of officers carrying naloxone.
- Encourage those at risk of overdose – and their families and loved ones – to obtain naloxone and learn more from NaloxoneSaves.Org or the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.
- Educate community members about the importance of naloxone for people who use opioid medications prescribed by a healthcare provider.