How to Respond to an Opioid Overdose:
Check for signs of an overdose:
No response when you call their name
Slow breathing or no breathing
Lips and fingernails may turn blue or gray
Skin is pale or clammy
Slow pulse or no pulse
Naloxone comes in three different forms: as a nasal(nose) spray, as a vial that requires you use a syringe (needle) for injection, and an auto-injector device that will inject into the muscle with a small needle when you push a button). There are videos that explain how to use each of these different forms of the medication here.
Naloxone is a prescription medication that can be administered to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and save someone’s life if given right away.
Naloxone usually works quickly. If the first dose doesn’t work in 2-3 minutes, give a second dose. Naloxone wears off after about 30-90 minutes. For this reason, it is possible for someone to wake up and then overdose again when the naloxone wears off. It is extremely important that you call 911 for help in the event of an overdose, even if someone wakes up after getting the naloxone.
Save a life - Get Naloxone!
Although naloxone is a prescription medication, Illinois has passed a law that allows pharmacists to dispense it without an individual prescription (Called a standing order; more information on that here.)
How to get naloxone without an individual prescription at a pharmacy:
Have insurance card and identification ready (if you have them).
Ask whether the pharmacy has naloxone in stock to obtain through IL’s Standing Order.
If yes, ask for the cost before the order is filled (There may be a copay for certain products. Some insurance companies have removed or lowered the copay for brand-name naloxone products, so be sure to ask. All IL Medicaid plans cover naloxone.)
If they do not have it in stock, request that it be ordered or ask if another location has it in stock.
If the pharmacist declines your request, ask if they’re familiar with the standing order.
Anyone can get naloxone by:
Getting a prescription from their provider
Going to a pharmacy and using the standing order for the general public
Note: Illinois has a Good Samaritan Law in place to encourage people to call 911 or take someone to an emergency room in the case of an overdose, or for follow up care in case naloxone has already been given. As long as the caller/person taking someone to the ER seeks medical attention when the person experiencing the overdose is still alive and the caller did not sell the person drugs, the Good Samaritan Law offers immunity for possession charges for up to 3 grams of heroin for the caller/person taking someone to the ER.