What Is Narcan, and How Does It Help People?

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Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is living with an opioid addiction or another substance use disorder, know that help is available. For assistance and support in facing substance misuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s confidential, free National Helpline at 800-662-4357.

Narcan, also known as Naloxone, is an FDA-approved medication that's designed to rapidly reduce the effects of an opioid overdose. While first responders almost always carry Narcan while they’re providing assistance in an emergency, Narcan is also now widely available to anyone, even without a prescription.

Narcan can save the lives of people who are overdosing when it’s in the right hands at the right time. We'll go over the basics of Narcan, including when and how to use it and where you can get it. If you or someone you love uses opiates, having a dose on hand can be a literal lifesaver.