Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdose
Naloxone Can Save a Life
FAQs Pharmacies Distributing Naloxone Toolkit for Pharmacists
Naloxone, also called Narcan, can very quickly restore normal breathing for a person whose breathing has slowed down or stopped because of an overdose of prescription opioids or heroin.
Naloxone only works for opioid drugs, including heroin, morphine, oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin, Percocet), oxymorphone (e.g. Opana), methadone, hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin), codeine and fentanyl.
Oregon law allows lay people to carry and use naloxone on others
You can be prepared to save the life of someone in need. Ask your healthcare provider or a pharmacist about naloxone if you believe you or someone you know may be at risk of an overdose.
Reverse Overdose Oregon campaign
The Oregon Health Authority has a campaign to help employers reverse opioid overdoses. Reverse Overdose Oregon marks the latest in Oregon’s ongoing efforts to address the
opioid epidemic through direct, comprehensive interventions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Read our FAQs to learn about naloxone training, how to get naloxone and more.
If your question is not answered here, please contact Chris.Sorvari@dhsoha.state.or.us. For additional naloxone information, visit the Oregon Pain Guidance naloxone web page.
1. Do I need training to get naloxone?
You do not need special training to get naloxone in Oregon, but a basic education in naloxone and recognizing the signs of overdose is recommended. Optional training resources are listed below.
a. Watch the online naloxone training videos.
b. Read the Oregon Health Authority's (OHA) naloxone training protocol (pdf). You may print the protocols as needed.
c. Receive patient counseling from a pharmacist, who will refer to the OHA naloxone training protocol (pdf).
d. Syringe exchange programs or social service agencies who distribute naloxone will train their clients in how to use it.
2. How often do I need training?
As of October 6, 2017, training is not required, but you may refer to any of the resources above to refresh your training as needed.
3. How do I get naloxone?
a. Any prescriber can send a prescription to your drug store. If you are in addiction treatment, you can ask your counselors for help.
b. In Oregon, anyone can obtain naloxone directly from a pharmacist. You don't need to see your healthcare provider first. As this is a new law, call the drug store first to make sure they have the necessary systems in place.
c. You can obtain naloxone through some social service agencies and advocacy groups such as Max's Mission (Southern Oregon).
d. If you are an active injection drug user you can get naloxone through your local syringe exchange program.
4. Will insurance cover naloxone?
Check with your insurance provider for coverage information. Many insurance plans will cover naloxone prescriptions.
5. How much does naloxone cost?
The price of medications can vary and change over time. Call your pharmacy to get a current price.
6. Is there any legal risk in administering naloxone?
Oregon has a Good Samaritan law (pdf) that protects responders from civil prosecution if they give someone naloxone in a good faith effort to reverse an opioid overdose. There is no liability as long as naloxone is administered in good faith.
1. Why should I prescribe naloxone?
Accidental opioid overdose is preventable and naloxone saves lives. Co-prescribing naloxone in primary care settings can significantly reduce emergency department visits, and may help patients become more aware of the potential hazards of opioid misuse.
2. Who is able to prescribe naloxone?
Naloxone is not a controlled substance and can be prescribed by anyone with a medical license. Any pharmacist can prescribe it as well.
3. Who should get naloxone?
- All patients who have an increased risk for overdose should get naloxone. This includes any patient with a history of overdose, higher dosages (≥50 MME daily), concurrent benzodiazepine use, or history of substance use disorder.
- Anyone at risk of experiencing or witnessing an opioid overdose.
Resources for more information:
1. What do pharmacists need to do to prescribe naloxone to patients?
Pharmacists can prescribe naloxone for patients and provide patient counseling/training. Visit the Board of Pharmacy website for naloxone FAQs for pharmacists, with more details about pharmacist prescribing of naloxone.
Check out the Naloxone Toolkit for Oregon Pharmacists on this page, with posters, fact sheet, and bag stuffers.
Organizations and Law Enforcement Agencies
1. How can I have naloxone on site for staff to use?
As of October 6, 2017, clinical oversight by a Medical Doctor (MD), Osteopathic Doctor (DO), Nurse Practitioner (NP) or Physician's Assistant (PA) is no longer required, although it is recommended that a pharmacist or other healthcare professional be involved as needed for basic education on overdose and naloxone. Any prescriber or pharmacist can order naloxone for your organization.
If you are located in Multnomah, Clackamas, or Washington County and are interested in trainings, you may have a staff member attend the Naloxone Train-the-Trainer class sponsored by Multnomah County. Organizations who have a representative attend the training are able to purchase naloxone through the Multnomah County Pharmacy. Contact Erin Browne (email@example.com) for more information.
2. How can our staff be trained?
Training may be face-to-face, watching the OHA online training videos, or reading the OHA training protocol (pdf). While training is no longer required, it is recommended that staff learn how to use naloxone and to recognize signs of an overdose.
3. Do staff and/or trainers need to be certified in CPR to administer naloxone or to train others to administer naloxone?
While CPR training may be beneficial to your staff and organization, it is not required for staff or trainers to be CPR certified.
4. Where do law enforcement agencies get more information?
Law enforcement agencies that need more information can contact Chris Gibson, Oregon-Idaho HIDTA Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office created a naloxone training video for law enforcement.
5. Is starting a naloxone distribution program right for my organization?
If your agency works with clients at risk for opioid overdose, then starting a distribution program might be right for you.
Here are some questions to consider when starting a program:
- Have you identified staff who can train others?
- How will you document who has been trained by your trainers?
- What other data will you collect from participants? (ie: demographics, substance use history, overdose experiences, etc.)
- How often will staff be expected to do refresher trainings?
- How (and when) will you have your naloxone supplies available?
- Do you know how to order supplies for naloxone kits?
- Where will you store the naloxone kits?
Download all FAQs for printing (pdf) - updated October 16, 2017
Naloxone Training Protocol
Opioid Overdose Toolkit from SAMHSA