According to the FDA and the manufacturers, someone else witnessing the overdose should administer naloxone. A person who is not breathing or unconscious cannot administer medication on themselves.
Remember, naloxone will not hurt anyone, even if they are not overdosing on opioids.
Q. Is this safe to use on a minor?
The FDA says naloxone is safe for anyone. Under Colorado law, you are protected from arrest if you use naloxone, in good faith, to reverse an overdose.
Q. What if it doesn't work?
Some people can take so many opioids that naloxone won’t immediately reverse the overdose. In Narcan kits, there’s a second dose you can administer after three to five minutes.
If you called 911 (and you need to call 911!), the dispatcher will tell you what to do. They also will have sent help along the way. First responders can administer CPR, provide additional oxygen, or a higher dose of naloxone.
Q. What if it wears off?
Naloxone can leave the system in 30 to 90 minutes. Medics or other first responders should have arrived at the scene in that time.
Q. Should I take the patient to the emergency room?
You should call 911. They’ll tell you what to do.
Q. What happens when someone "wakes up"?
Someone who has overdosed and received naloxone will go through what’s called “precipitated withdrawal.” Naloxone undoes what the opioids have done to the body, at least temporarily. Someone who has received naloxone could be disoriented, distressed, or agitated.
Q. What if the person used heroin or fentanyl?
Heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid pain medications are all opioids. That means their chemical structures are similar and they’re in the same category of drug.
Naloxone works on any type of opioid.
Q. Am I at risk of getting into legal trouble?
Colorado’s “911 Good Samaritan” laws extend to people who suffer an overdose or assist someone who helps someone who has overdosed. A person cannot be arrested for having small amounts of illegal drugs or drug paraphernalia. However, that person is not immune from arrest if they have outstanding warrants from a previous crime.