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Naloxone Availability

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Description of Strategy

Developed in the early 1960s, naloxone, (also known as Narcan) is a medication used to counter the effects of opioid overdose, allowing the overdose victim to breathe normally. It is injected into the muscle, vein, or under the skin, or sprayed into the nose. Naloxone should be administered to anyone who shows signs of overdose, or when an overdose is suspected. Important to note, more than one dose of naloxone may be needed to revive someone who is overdosing, and some may require additional doses. Finally, naloxone has little potential for abuse, and can be administered by minimally trained laypeople (Behar et al., 2015).

In Wyoming

The Wyoming Grant to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose-Related Deaths (PDO) will, through the Wyoming Department of Health, provide funding up to $1,400 to purchase opioid-related materials. This includes educational materials, storage units, and disposal methods. In addition, Wyoming §§ 35-4-901 through 35-5-906 allows pharmacists to prescribe naloxone to individuals, so that anyone can go to a local pharmacy and ask about obtaining the drug.

Discussion of Effectiveness

Naloxone has bene associated with a substantial decrease in the number of opioid-related deaths (Bird et al., 2015; Rzasa-Lynn & Galinkin, 2018). Moreover, programs where naloxone is taken home by individuals have been successful, with few side effects (McDonald & Strang, 2018; Chimbar & Moleta, 2018). It has been approved by the FDA, distributed widely by pharmacists, and is quite safe (Thakur et al., 2019). This is particularly true when naloxone is given in low doses. It has no effect when given to individuals who are not dependent upon opioids, even when given in high doses (Wermeling, 2015; Connors & Nelson, 2016).


Behar, E., Santos, G. M., Wheeler, E., Rowe, C., & Coffin, P. O. (2015). Brief overdose education is sufficient for naloxone distribution to opioid users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 148(1), 209–212.

Bird, S. M., Parmar, M. K., & Strang, J. (2015). Take-home naloxone to prevent fatalities from opiate-overdose: Protocol for Scotland’s public health policy evaluation, and a new measure to assess impact. Drugs (Abingdon Engl), 22(1), 66–76.

Chimbar, L., & Moleta, Y. (2018). Naloxone effectiveness: A systematic review. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 29(3), 167–171.

Connors, N. J., & Nelson, L. S. (2016). The evolution of recommended naloxone dosing for opioids overdose by medical specialty. Journal of Medical Toxicology, 12(3), 276–281.

McDonald, R., & Strang, J. (2018). Are take-home naloxone programmes effective? Systematic review utilizing application of the Bradford Hill Criteria. Addiction, 111(1), 1177–1187.

Rzasa-Lynn, R. & Galinkin, J. L. (2018). Naloxone dosage for opioid reversal: Current evidence and clinical implications. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 9(1), 63–88.

Thakur, T., Frey, M., & Chewning, B. (2019). Pharmacist Services in the Opioid Crisis: Current Practices and Scope in the United States. Pharmacy 7(2), 60.

Wermeling, D. P. (2015). Review of naloxone safety for opioid overdose: Practical considerations for new technology and expanded public access. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 6(1), 20-31.

Further Reading

Wyoming Department of Health Naloxone Information

Information on Prescribing and Dispensing Naloxone (Narcan)

Naloxone Policy Template [DOCX]



Evidence Base

Cochrane Review, Community Guide, NREPPHarvey Ball icon indicating evidence strength
Effectiveness Learn More


Strength of Evidence Learn More

Cochrane Review; NREPP