What is Naloxone?

  • Naloxone temporarily blocks the effects of opioids, and can reverse overdose. It only works if opioids are in the body, it has no effect on alcohol or other drugs.
  • It can take 1-5 minutes to start working and may require more than one dose.
  • Effects can last 30-90 minutes, this varies per person
  • Naloxone may cause an opioid dependent person to go into withdrawal (e.g. nausea, vomiting, agitation, muscle aches). These symptoms will go away as the naloxone wears off.
  • Do not throw away expired naloxone. Any naloxone is better than no naloxone. Naloxone is 90% effective after 30 years past its expiration date (footnote 1), and can survive extreme temperatures (footnote 2).
  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30596290/
  2. https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-019-0288-4

Bunny and Wolf Fight an Overdose

VHRC distributes both intramuscular and nasal versions of naloxone. We do individual, group, and organizational trainings on the administration of naloxone as well as the Virginia Department of Health’s REVIVE! trainer of trainers.

How to use nasal naloxone


What the experts have to say

Have a minute? Listen to this Sawbones episode about Naloxone for a great primer:

“[Carrying Naloxone is] an important thing to do as a member of a community. And it says something about you, you care about people. you care about people even if they’re engaging in behaviour that might harm them. Even if they are acting in a way which puts them in danger you care about their life despite that and will do what is necessary to help them out. That’s sort of the message that it sends. You carry naloxone, you save a life. That’s like a rallying cry for harm reduction. It is important. It is a meaningful act.”

Dr. Sydnee Mcelroy, MD