How to Recognize an 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
Save a life - Get Naloxone!
- Ask your local pharmacist if they can dispense naloxone without a prescription. The pharmacist can run the medication through your insurance carrier and let you know if there is a cost.
- Ask your doctor/nurse practitioner/physician assistant to write you a prescription. There is more information for prescribers.
- You can visit one of the many Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA) sites across the city where they provide naloxone training and free naloxone kits
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.
All Medicaid plans cover naloxone.
Pharmacists who have completed training be able to dispense naloxone without a prescription.
Health care professionals who prescribe medications be able to prescribe naloxone for third-party use (which means they can prescribe for a patient who has a friend or family member who uses opioids).
How to respond to an overdose with Naloxone:
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.
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.