The opioid epidemic has become so serious that it’s been declared a national emergency. It’s no wonder, either, since opioid overdoses kill 115 Americans every day. While programs for preventing addiction will help in the long term, emergency responders use Narcan to combat overdoses in the field. However, that does beg the question, what is Narcan?

What is Narcan Exactly?What is Narcan

The answer to the question of what is Narcan is simple. In fact, Narcan is one brand of naloxone. Naloxone can actually stop and even reverse some of the effects of an opioid overdose.


Specifically, the FDA approved naloxone in 1971. For most years since, the drug was a tool found primarily in hospitals and ERs. However, due to the dramatic rise in opioid overdose, pharmacies across the country will offer over the counter or by prescription.

What Forms Does It Come In?

The simplest form is a nasal spray since it requires no special training. Furthermore, it also comes in auto-injection pens. A dose is pre-loaded and you press it into the outer thigh. Therefore, the pen delivers the dose into the muscle.

There is a liquid form that is injected as a shot. It’s typically only available by prescription, as it calls for training in dosage and administration.

How Does It Work?

Just as important as what is Narcan, is the question how does it work? Your nervous system is built with receptors for endorphins, or natural painkillers your body makes. However, opioids share a similar structure to endorphins. The receptors can’t tell the difference and let the opioids attach.

The opioids, unlike endorphins, can cause respiratory problems. Your breathing literally slows until your body doesn’t have enough oxygen. Narcan stops opioids from attaching to those receptors. This lets your breathing return to normal.

The tricky part is that naloxone typically wears off after thirty minutes. Many opioids last longer than that, so you need more doses of naloxone. In addition, that’s why it’s crucial to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.

Treatment for Opioid Overdose

While Narcan can prevent a fatal overdose, it’s not a treatment option. A person who overdoses on heroin, for example, needs a heroin detox treatment program. The treatment program will help them clear the drug and toxins from their body. Additionally, the program will also provide the initial steps for a transition into a rehabilitation program.

For example, programs at Gallus include:

Learn More About Gallus Detox Centers

Gallus Detox Centers offers private, confidential detox programs in Scottsdale, Arizona. Every client receives a custom detox plan for their unique situation. Specifically, Gallus serves the Scottsdale, Gilbert, Phoenix, and Ahwatukee areas.

Chronic pain and addiction can control your life, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With help from a quality detox and rehab program, you can beat your addiction. Call 888-228-9114 today and let us help you on the road to recovery.