What is Naloxone?

NaloxoneNaloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin or prescription pain medications). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing. Naloxone has been used safely by medical professionals for more than 40 years.

If naloxone is given to a person who is not experiencing an opioid overdose, it is harmless. If naloxone is administered to a person who is dependent on opioids, it will produce withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal, although uncomfortable, is not life-threatening. Naloxone does notreverse overdoses that are caused by non-opioid drugs, such as cocaine, benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax, Klonopin and Valium), methamphetamines or alcohol.

Naloxone must be administered by a third-party because the overdose victim is unconscious or otherwise incapable of administering the medication personally. In Ohio, a pharmacist or pharmacy intern under the direct supervision of a pharmacist can dispense naloxone without a prescription. Visit he State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy website to learn more.


  • has no pharmacological effect and has no potential for abuse (non-scheduled);
  • can be safely administered by intranasal, intravenous or intramuscular injection;
  • works rapidly (2-8 min.) and wears off in 20-90 minutes;
  • produces no effect if opioids are not present.

Grant Program Aids Access for County Health Departments

The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is committing up to $750,000 in each state fiscal year to enhance access to naloxone in every Ohio county. Funds allocated to the department will be used to purchase naloxone, including complete Project DAWN Kits (Death Avoidance With Naloxone), for distribution to county health departments to dispense to local law enforcement, emergency personnel and first responders (as required by House Bill 166).

County health departments must have an active terminal distributors License from the state of Ohio. Then they may register with the Ohio Pharmacy Service Center to set up an account. Allocation to each county is based on population, with a minimum of $3,000 guaranteed.