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Narcon Nasal Spray

Courtesy of National Institute on Drug Abuse, Josie Anderson

What parents should know about medicine that reverses opioid overdose

July 1, 2023

If someone in your home takes opioids for any reason, you should carry naloxone. The medication that soon will be available over the counter can be a lifesaver for children and teens who overdose.

Naloxone nasal spray, also known as Narcan, can reverse an opioid overdose within minutes. People will be able to get it without a prescription in drugstores, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and online. Naloxone also is available with a prescription or from local organizations.

Children and teens can overdose on prescription opioids used to treat pain and opioids that are sold illegally, like fentanyl.

Naloxone can be used for suspected overdose in infants, children, teens and adults. There is virtually no downside to giving naloxone to children and teens, even if you are not sure if they overdosed on opioids.

It should be given at the first sign of overdose symptoms. This is especially important for toddlers and small children, who may take someone else’s medication or a counterfeit pill. Follow the instructions on the package and then call 911.

Signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • doesn’t wake up when shaken or called,
  • shallow, slow or no breathing,
  • limpness,
  • pale skin, with blue lips or fingertips,
  • slow or irregular heartbeat or pulse,
  • vomiting or gurgling noises,
  • slurred speech and/or
  • center part of the eye is very small.

A person who receives naloxone after an overdose usually will wake up in one to three minutes. Stay with the person until emergency help arrives. The person could become unconscious again and might need another dose of naloxone. Lay an unconscious person on his or her side to prevent choking. Keep trying to wake the person up and keep them breathing.

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