Mental & physical health

Learn how to get and use naloxone (Narcan®)

If you’re having a medical emergency, call 911.

Overview

Opioids are a class of drugs that relieve pain. When appropriately prescribed by a doctor, opioids help the brain block the feeling of pain. Misusing opioids can cause addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.

Learn how the City of Philadelphia is combating the opioid epidemic.

What’s naloxone?

Naloxone is a prescription medicine that reverses opioid overdoses. It temporarily blocks the effect of opioids and helps a person to start breathing again. The drug is also sold under the brand names Narcan and Evzio.

Naloxone quick facts

  • Only works for someone on opioids
  • Cannot be used to get high
  • Not addictive
  • Adverse side effects are rare
  • Safe and easy to use
  • Takes 2–5 minutes to take effect
  • May require more than one dose
  • Stays in the body for 30–90 minutes
  • May cause withdrawal (e.g., chills, nausea, vomiting, agitation, muscle aches)

Signs of an overdose

  • Slow, shallow, or no detectable breathing
  • Unresponsive or unconscious
  • Pale, blue, or gray lips, face, and/or nail beds
  • Loud snoring or gurgling noise
  • Vomiting
  • Slow or no pulse

Who

Although naloxone is a prescription medication, Pennsylvania – like many states – has passed laws making it available as a standing order. A standing order prescription allows pharmacists in Pennsylvania to dispense naloxone without requiring an individual prescription.

Anyone can access naloxone by:

  • Getting a prescription from their doctor; or
  • Using the standing order written for the general public.

If you’re interested in learning more, see Pennsylvania’s Naloxone Standing Order (PDF).

Pharmacists can find more information about dispensing naloxone at the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association website.

Uninsured?

Prevention Point Philadelphia offers naloxone based on ability to pay.

Where and when

Naloxone prescriptions can be filled at most pharmacies. Although the medication may not be available for same day pickup, it can often be ordered and available within a day or two.

When you arrive at the pharmacy, be sure to:

  • Have insurance card ready.
  • Bring an ID.
  • Ask whether the pharmacy has naloxone in stock to obtain through PA’s Standing Order.
  • If yes, ask for the cost of the copay before the order is filled.
  • If they do not have it in stock, request that it be ordered or ask if another location has it in stock.
  • While many may have a copay for brand Narcan, other brands may be free.
  • If the pharmacist declines your request, ask if they’re familiar with the standing order.
  • If they are unable to fill the request or are unfamiliar with the standing order, please go to another pharmacy.
  • If the pharmacist was unwilling to fill the request, please report your experience to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

 

Use this map to find a pharmacy near you that carries naloxone.

Price

While many insurance companies have a copay for brand Narcan, other brands may be free. If you are uninsured, Prevention Point Philadelphia offers naloxone based on ability to pay.

Request naloxone for your organization.

How

Attend a local training

To learn how to administer naloxone, attend a local training. The next three sessions are listed below. See all local trainings.

 

  • Sep
    23
    Free Narcan Day @ Holmesburg Library
    1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
    Holmesburg Library, 7810 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19136, USA

    Free Narcan Day @ Holmesburg Library

    September 23, 2019
    1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, 3 hours
    Holmesburg Library, 7810 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19136, USA
    map
    Health Department staff will be at branches of the Free Library to answer questions about Philadelphia's opioid epidemic, provide drug overdose training, and distribute Narcan. 1 kit per person (while supplies last). For more information contact overdose.prevention@phila.gov.

    Share with friends on Facebook
  • Sep
    25
    PA Naloxone Giveaway Day
    11:00 am to 7:00 pm
    Various locations & hours

    PA Naloxone Giveaway Day

    September 25, 2019
    11:00 am to 7:00 pm, 8 hours
    Various locations & hours
    map
    Health Department staff will be at branches of the Free Library to answer questions about Philadelphia's opioid epidemic, provide drug overdose training, and distribute Narcan.

    McPherson Square Library
    601 E. Indiana Ave.
    11 am - 5 pm

    Queen Memorial Library
    1201 S. 23rd St.
    11 am - 5 pm

    Ramonita G. de Rodriguez Library
    600 W. Girard Ave.
    12 pm - 6 pm

    Haverford Library
    5543 Haverford Ave.
    1 pm - 7 pm

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  • Sep
    30
    Free Narcan Day @ Katherine Drexel Library
    1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
    Katharine Drexel Library, 11099 Knights Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19154, USA

    Free Narcan Day @ Katherine Drexel Library

    September 30, 2019
    1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, 3 hours
    Katharine Drexel Library, 11099 Knights Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19154, USA
    map
    Health Department staff will be at branches of the Free Library to answer questions about Philadelphia's opioid epidemic, provide drug overdose training, and distribute Narcan. 1 kit per person (while supplies last). For more information contact overdose.prevention@phila.gov.

    Share with friends on Facebook

 

Other training options

Calling 911

Through the ‘Good Samaritan’ provision of Act 139, friends, loved ones, and bystanders are encouraged to call 911 for emergency medical services in the event an overdose is witnessed and to stay with the individual until help arrives. The law offers certain criminal and civil protections to the caller so that they cannot get in trouble for being present, witnessing, and reporting an overdose. Learn more about Act 139.


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