What is naloxone?

Naloxone and Narcan are medications that rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. As an opioid antagonist, it attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain and reverses and blocks the effects of other opioids. Nalaxone is not effective in an individual who has not taken opioids but instead is reacting to a different substance.

When should you use nalaxone?

Naloxone should be given to any person who shows signs of an opioid overdose or when an overdose is suspected. Naloxone comes as a nasal spray or it can be injected into the muscle.

Is there a preferred way to give naloxone?

Both intramuscular and nasal naloxone have benefits and drawbacks. Various factors may affect your decision in choosing which is best for your business. Below is a comparison chart to help you decide what is right for your business:








Intramuscular naloxone injection

2-5 minutes

30-90 minutes


Responder may not be comfortable drawing up or giving an injection

Store at controlled room temperature  15°C to 25°C

Keep dry and away from light

Less likelihood of precipitated withdrawal

More effective for reversing muscle stiffness caused by fentanyl (related to the rate of ingestion and higher doses of fentanyl)

Intranasal naloxone spray

2-3 minutes

120 minutes

May be inconsistent due to historical fractures, damaged sinuses or scar tissue

Easy to administer

Store at controlled room temperature between 15°C to 25°C and keep away from moisture and light.

Higher likelihood of precipitated withdrawal

Less effective for reversing muscle stiffness caused by fentanyl

Coughing and sneezing may occur

Take COVID-19 precautions to administer

Effects of 1 spray are comparable to 5 naloxone injections

Nasal naloxone may not work in all individuals. Encourage carrying kits of injectable naloxone in addition


Am I able to get naloxone for my business?

Yes! Like a first aid kit or fire extinguisher, having naloxone available is an important safety tool to protect your staff and customers. Naloxone and other supplies can be purchased at https://www.towardtheheart.com/site-finder

How much does naloxone cost?

The cost varies depending on where you get the naloxone, how you get it, and what type you get.

Is there training available on how to use naloxone?

Yes! In person training is available through St. Johns Ambulance here and online training is available here. Anyone who may administer naloxone is required to take the training.

Am I able to get sharps disposal containers for my business?

Yes. Sharps disposal containers can be purchased through various suppliers. Many of these also included services that change containers when full and provide safe disposal. Options in the lower mainland include:

BIOMED Dispose-it

5371 Regent Street

Burnaby, BC, V5C 4H4



150-1407 Kebet Way

Port Coquitlam, BC, V3C6L3


What is the the Good Samaritan Law and how does it affect an individual responding to an overdose?

A person who renders emergency medical services or aid to an ill, injured or unconscious person at the immediate scene of an accident or emergency that has caused the illness, injury or unconsciousness, is not liable for damages for injury to or death of that person caused by his act or omission in rendering the medical services or aid unless he is grossly negligent.

How long do the effects of nalaxone last?

While naloxone is only active in the body for 20 to 90 minutes, the effects of most opioids last longer. This means that the effects of naloxone are likely to wear off before the opioids are gone from the body, which causes breathing to stop again. Naloxone may need to be used again, depending on the amount or type of opioid taken, or how the opioids were taken.

Sign Up For Webinar

Want to know how your business can be prepared to deal with an overdose on site? Sign up for a webinar led by Fraser Health to learn how to prepare your business and staff.