Opioid overdose is life-threatening and requires immediate emergency attention. If you suspect an overdose, ALWAYS call 9-1-1 first before taking any other action. Recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose is essential to saving lives.

Signs and Symptoms of an Opioid Overdose

  • unconsciousness or unresponsiveness (doesn’t wake up when shaken or called)
  • shallow breathing
  • limpness
  • blue lips, gums, or fingertips
  • slow or irregular heartbeat or pulse

What is Naloxone?

Naloxone (commonly known as Narcan®) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin, illicit fentanyl, or prescription pain medication). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing.

Naloxone has been used safely by emergency medical professionals for more than 40 years and has only one critical function: to prevent overdose death by reversing the effects of opioids.

Where can I find Naloxone?

Naloxone is available under the statewide standing order through participating pharmacies which means consumers can get Naloxone directly from a pharmacist, without a prescription. This allows greater access to Naloxone to anyone who thinks they might need it, either for themselves or for someone else who might be at risk for an overdose.

Over-the-counter Naloxone nasal spray was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2023 and is available without a prescription.

In Alamance County, Naloxone is carried by the following law enforcement offices:

In North Carolina there are four ways to find Naloxone:

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid designated as a Schedule II narcotic that is much stronger than morphine. It’s about 100x more potent than morphine and 50x stronger than heroin. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in fentanyl-related overdoses across the US. Fentanyl is increasingly sold in combination with other drugs increasing the likelihood of dangerous effects and outcomes.

Campus Resources

Additional Resources

What to Do if You Suspect Overdose

  • Call 911
  • Say “I can’t wake my friend up”
  • Roll the person into the recovery position (see image)
  • Stay with the person

Diagram showing how to roll an overdose victim into the recovery position

Sources: NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health (December 2023)