How to use opioid overdose reversal medications

Opioid overdose reversal medications are safe, legal medications that can reverse an opioid overdose and can help save a life. Learn how to use them, and carry some with you.

What is opioid overdose reversal medications?

Opioid overdose reversal medications, such as naloxone and nalmefene, are easy-to-use medications that can reverse an opioid overdose in minutes. On pharmacy shelves, you might see Narcan or RiVive. With a prescription, additional options are available, like Kloxxado, Zimhi and OPVEE.

These medications block the effects of opioids, like fentanyl, in the body. Even if you and your friends don’t use drugs, consider carrying them. You could save someone’s life.

Common types of opioid overdose reversal medications 

  • Naloxone is available as a nasal spray in multiple dosages and as an injectable. Some versions of naloxone nasal spray are available over the counter.
  • Nalmefene is available as a nasal spray with a prescription.

Opioid Overdose Reversal medications can help save a life after an opioid overdose.

Download the Opioid Overdose Reversal Medications infographic to learn more about the different types of medications. 

Where to get opioid overdose reversal medications?

Naloxone is available without a prescription in all 50 states. Here are some ways you can find it near you:

  • Check a retail pharmacy shelf or ask a pharmacist how to get naloxone.
  • Look for resources from your local health department.
  • Use the map at or select your location on the Next Distro website.

Remember: some formulations of naloxone and nalmefene are only available with a prescription. A pharmacist or a community health organization can help you understand what’s available in your location.

How to use naloxone nasal spray: 3 simple steps

If someone is showing signs of an overdose, don't wait. Call 911 and give them naloxone nasal spray.

  1. Peel open the container.
  2. Place the nozzle into the person's nostril.
  3. Press the plunger to release the dose.

Note, it will reverse a fentanyl overdose, but because fentanyl is so strong, you may need more than one naloxone nasal spray dose. Always refer to the instructions that are on the packaging for how to use these medications.

Naloxone Nasal Spray facts
  • If you overdose, you won’t be able to use naloxone on yourself. Make sure your friends know how to use it, too.
  • Each device holds one dose.
  • If someone doesn't have opioids in their system, naloxone will not harm anyone who uses it.
  • Even expired naloxone can save a life. (Source: NEXTDistro