Overdose Awareness Resources


Overdose Awareness & Assistance Resources

How does Naloxone/Narcan Work?

It is an opioid antagonist attaches to opioid receptors reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids.

What are Opioids?

Drugs like heroin, Fentanyl, oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine

How to Recognize & Help Someone Experiencing an Opioid Overdose: Steps

Step 1: Recognize an Opioid Overdose

  • Unconscious
  • Very small pupils
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Choking sounds, snore-like gurgling noise
  • Vomiting
  • An inability to speak
  • Faint heartbeat
  • Limp arms and legs
  • Pale skin
  • Purple(light skin)/grey (dark skin) lips and fingernails

Step 2: Check for Responsiveness

  • Call the name of the person loudly
  • Do a knuckle rub on their sternum if they don’t respond
  • Put your ear next to their mouth to listen/feel for breathing
  • Look to see if their chest is rising and falling

Step 3: If they are not responding call 911, then start rescue breathing.

  • Clear airways
  • Tilt head back and chin up
  • Close their nose
  • Cover their mouth with yours
  • Give one normal breath every five seconds for 30

Step 4: Administer Naloxone (injectable) or Narcan (brand name of Naloxone, nasal version).

Administering Narcan (nasal)
  • Open package
  • Tilt their head back
  • Support the back of their neck with your hand
  • Hold Narcan between index and middle finger with your thumb on the plunger
  • Insert the nozzle into one nostril until your fingers are touching their nose
  • Press plunger firmly to give dose
  • Alternate nostrils when giving multiple doses
Administering Naloxone (injectable)
  • Naloxone goes in big muscles (thighs, butt, arm)
  • If possible, swab the area with an alcohol wipe
  • Needle can go through fabric, if needed
  • When injecting through pants, make sure pockets are empty, so you don’t break your needle on keys or phone
  • Remove the orange cap
  • Draw up the whole vial into needle
  • Insert the needle at a 90-degree angle straight into the muscle Inject all of it
  • Safely dispose of needle in a sharps container

Step 4: After Giving First Dose

  • Continue rescue breathing
  • Give them 1 breath every 5 seconds for 3 minutes
  • If they are not breathing for themselves by then administer another dose
  • Continue this process until the person is breathing for themselves, or until the paramedics arrive and take over


Rescue Position

  • Put them on their side
  • Bend their top knee in front of them
  • Bend their bottom arm up and put their top arm under their face

Important to Note:

  • Naloxone will wear off in 30 minutes to an hour. A person could go back into overdose.
  • When a person is given Naloxone they go immediately from very high to withdrawal.
  • Don’t let them use again. This could cause them to go back into overdose. They should start to feel better as the Naloxone wears off.

Review of Steps

  • Check for responsiveness
  • Call 911
  • Breath for them for 30 seconds
  • Give 1st dose of Naloxone
  • Continue breathing for them for 3 minutes
  • Give them a 2nd dose, if necessary
  • Continue until they are breathing on their own or paramedics arrive

Downloadable Printout here: Naloxone Handout

Narcan / Naloxone Training Video: Training Video

Narcan / Naloxone Training Video, Spanish: Training Video