How to Respond to an Opioid Overdose

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If taken differently than prescribed, opioids can cause death by slowing, and eventually stopping, a person's breathing. However, quick response to an opioid overdose, including administering naloxone and calling for medical assistance, can prevent brain injury and death.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

By taking universal safety precautions, all law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS providers can safely administer naloxone for overdose reversal, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources listed below provide guidance for first responders.


Opioid Overdose Reversal with Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio)
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created an online resource to raise awareness about naloxone. It includes information on where to get naloxone.

Pictogram. What is Naloxone? Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. Available in three FDA-approved formulations: injectable, autoinjectable and prepackaged nasal spray.


How Healthcare Providers and Patients Can Better Utilize Naloxone, the Opioid Reversal Drug
Naloxone is highly effective and has saved lives from opioid overdoses, but can only do so if it is in the right hands, at the right time.

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit (en Español)
Toolkit for communities and local governments from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) includes material to develop policies and practices to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths.

Law Enforcement Naloxone Toolkit
Toolkit for public safety officers provides basic information, resources, and guidance on using naloxone to treat opioid overdose. It includes resources to support establishing a naloxone program.

Prevent and Protect
Help for people to gain access to naloxone. Also provides tools for organizations conducting overdose prevention and naloxone advocacy, outreach, and communication campaigns.

Drug Overdose Immunity and Good Samaritan Laws
Policymakers are seeking solutions that will help curb use and overdose by expanding Good Samaritan immunity, and increasing naloxone access.

Prevention Conversations: Lessons from Local Communities
Videos describe the importance of facilitating the widespread distribution of the opioid reversal medication naloxone.