Naloxone (Narcan) North Jersey Recovery Center - A woman who has overdosed on opioids is receiving help from EMTs through chest compressions, oxygen, and Narcan, while her family and friends wonder how long does Narcan last and how fast does it kick in.

What is Naloxone (Narcan)?

What is Narcan? How long does Narcan last?

Narcan is an opioid overdose reversal drug.

The generic, active ingredient in Narcan is naloxone.

Naloxone is a medication that quickly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Narcan can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, but it is crucial to understand how it works and what needs to happen if someone overdoses on opioids.

What Does Narcan Work on?

Narcan is classified as an opioid antagonist, meaning it binds to opioid receptors and blocks the effects of opioid drugs that someone may have taken.

If a person is overdosing on opioids, like pain relievers or illicit substances – like heroin – Narcan can return their breathing patterns to normal.

Narcan will not work on any other type of drug overdose.

An estimated 128 people die every day because of opioid overdoses.

Opioids are a class of drug that binds to certain receptor sites located throughout the body and central nervous system.

When someone takes opioids, it slows down essential functions and changes how they perceive pain.

As a result, Narcan’s use has become an integral part of harm reduction strategies in many places in the U.S.

Breathing is one of the essential functions slowed by opioids.

When someone takes a dose that is more than their brain and body can handle, their breathing can slow to a dangerous or deadly level.

That is an opioid overdose.

The signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • Tiny, pinpoint pupils
  • Slack or droopy muscles
  • Nodding off
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nonresponsive to stimuli
  • Not able to talk, even if awake
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Skin with a purplish, gray, or ashen color
  • Choking or snoring sounds
  • Vomiting
  • Slow, erratic, or stopped pulse
  • Fingernails and lips may turn purple or blue

How is Naloxone Given?

Naloxone is given in one of three FDA-approved forms.

There is the injectable form of naloxone that should only be given by professionals trained in its use. Emergency kits used by first responders often include injectable naloxone.

There is a brand-name auto-injectable product called EVZIO, which can be used by emergency responders and family members or loved ones of someone who is overdosing.

The auto-injectable naloxone product is delivered into the outer thigh.

The product provides verbal instructions when activated, letting the person administering the medication know what to do next.

The most commonly used type of naloxone is Narcan, a nasal spray that does not require the use of needles and is pre-filled and assembled.

Someone experiencing an overdose would receive the nasal spray in their nostril while they’re on their back.

Who Can Give Naloxone if Someone Overdoses?

The liquid is primarily used by paramedics, specially trained first responders, and emergency room doctors.

The Narcan nasal spray is easiest to use, and anyone can give it if they see an overdose happening.

Some state require a prescription from a doctor for Narcan, but for other states, you can get it at a pharmacy on an outpatient basis without a prescription.

Major pharmacies chains, including Walgreens and CVS, now provide naloxone without a prescription in all U.S. stores.

How Long Does it Take to Work, and How Long Does Narcan Last?

Amid the ongoing opioid epidemic, all individuals need to have a broad-based understanding of how Narcan works because it can be lifesaving.

First, how long does it take Narcan to work? How long does Narcan last?

Once administered, naloxone usually starts taking effect within two to three minutes.

If a person is given Narcan or naloxone and doesn’t wake up, they should be given a second dose.

Rescue breathing should be done as Narcan is given so that the person suffering from the overdose is getting critical oxygen to their brain.

Narcan or naloxone typically wears off in 30 to 90 minutes.

It is possible someone given Narcan can stop breathing unless there’s more naloxone available.

That is why no matter what, it is critical to contact 911 if someone is experiencing an overdose. 

While Narcan is a vital drug to help save someone’s life, emergency medical attention is still needed if someone is overdosing.

Are There Any Risks of Narcan?

Overall, naloxone and Narcan have few, if any, risks.

They are not considered controlled substances, meaning there’s no abuse or addiction potential.

You can’t get addicted to Narcan, nor does it have street value.

The only possible side effect of Narcan might be an allergy to it, but that is rare.

Opioids Effects and Abuse

Opioids are powerful and highly addictive drugs.

Prescription opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and methadone.

Heroin is an illegal opioid, and usage has increased in the U.S. across nearly all demographics.

Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful synthetic opioid.

Illicit fentanyl is also made and sold on the black market, and it frequently leads to overdoses and deaths, even if a tiny amount is used.

Luckily, over the past couple of years, opioid overdose deaths have declined slightly, but the opioid epidemic remains a pervasive, deadly issue in the United States.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction treatment is an important way to reclaim control of your life.

If you’ve experienced an opioid overdose requiring the use of Narcan, it may be more motivating for you to seek treatment and get help.

Opioid addiction treatment can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis.

For many people, they’ll participate in several steps of care.

For example, someone might initially start treatment in an intensive inpatient program and eventually move into a lower level of care – such as outpatient treatment.

During an opioid addiction treatment program, the physical effects need to be considered first.

As you go through opioid withdrawal, you may find serious symptoms requiring medical supervision and care.

Following detox, you can begin your recovery program that addresses the underlying issues leading to your use of opioids.

Addiction treatment plans for opioids should be tailored, personalized experiences because every individual is unique and has their own specific needs.


Paying for Opioid Treatment

Too often, people are fearful they can’t afford rehab.

The reality is that insurance often covers some or all of addiction treatment.

North Jersey Recovery Center’s team works with your insurance company to verify what your plan covers.

We provide free insurance verification to determine what financial options are available to you.

If you don’t have insurance, there are still flexible payment options you can take advantage of.

The most crucial thing is the treatment itself, which can help you overcome your opioid dependence and addiction to regain control over your life.

Final Thoughts: How Long Does Narcan Last?

If you ask how long Narcan lasts, it could be an indicator you’re struggling with opioids.

Narcan is a brand name of naloxone that lasts 30 to 90 minutes.

While it can help reverse an opioid overdose, what Narcan doesn’t do is serve as a treatment for opioid addiction.

Opioid addiction often requires a professional level of treatment, such as the programs available at North Jersey Recovery Center.

We encourage you to reach out to our admissions team today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Laura Riley

Laura-Riley-Cropped-Profile-150x150Laura Riley, MA, LCADC, CCS is an Administrator with North Jersey Recovery Center.