WATCH: How to Save a Life with Naloxone

By: Dr. Rachel Levine, Physician General

January 10, 2017

Naloxone is a medication that can temporarily reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid drug (prescription pain medication or heroin). When given during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and restores breathing within two to eight minutes.

Family members and friends can access this medication by obtaining a prescription from their family doctor or by using the standing order (a prescription written for the general public, rather than specifically for an individual) that I issued in 2015. The standing order is kept on file at many pharmacies, or may be downloaded here.

Learning to use naloxone can help save life. Below is a brief video I made that shows how to use naloxone.

In addition to watching the video above and talking to your healthcare provider or the pharmacist about how to use naloxone, you should take an online training. Training is available at one of the Department of Health approved training sites: Get Naloxone Now or PA Virtual Training Network. While it is not necessary to obtain a training certificate in order to purchase naloxone, learning these important details will help you respond properly in the event of an overdose and also meet the immunity requirements of PA Act 139.

After naloxone has been administered, 911 should be called so a first responder can assess the patient and transport the patient to the emergency department to receive further medical care and a “warm hand-off,” or a facilitated referral, to needed substance abuse treatment.

It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. Treatment works and recovery is possible. We must have hope for the patient, their families, and our communities.

If you or someone you know is suffering from substance use disorder, help is available. Please visit pa.gov/opioids or call 1-800-662-HELP.

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