Naloxone Now SLO

Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.  76% of overdose deaths in San Luis Obispo County are opioid-related (San Luis Obispo County Coroner's Office, 2021). 

Naloxone (also known by its brand name Narcan) is a medicine that can reverse an opioid overdose. It is non-addictive, has virtually no side effects, and has no potential for abuse as it does not produce any high effect. It comes in the form of a nasal spray or an injection and is safe to give to anyone suspected of experiencing an overdose. Naloxone only works on opioids in the brain and will have no effect on someone without opioids in their system. Overdose occurs when opioids cause a person to stop breathing. Naloxone works within minutes by temporarily removing opioids from their receptors, allowing the person to breathe again.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges people to carry naloxone, the overdose reversal medication, if they use opioids or spend time with someone who does. 

This is a progressive website providing information and education regarding opioids, including opioid overdoses and naloxone administration.  The information contained in this website is not advice of any kind including, but not limited to, medical advice, care, diagnosis, treatment, or legal advice.  This website should not be relied upon as a substitute to seeking medical advice, care, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider, including calling 9-1-1.  Do not delay, disregard, or discontinue medical treatment because of information contained within this website.  If you or someone else is suffering or suspected to be suffering from a medical condition, including an overdose or other emergency, you should seek medical care immediately from a healthcare provider, including calling 9-1-1.

This website contains links to other websites.  The County of San Luis Obispo and the SLO Opioid Safety Coalition are not responsible for the contents of any of those websites.  The information provided herein is provided without any representations or warranties, expressed or implied.

Related Services

Related Documents

How to Respond to an Overdose

  1. Ask the person if they are okay and shout name.
  2. Shake shoulders and firmly rub the middle of their chest
  3. Check for signs of an opioid overdose: a person may not show ALL signs, any one of these is cause for concern.
    • Unconscious/not responsive - primary sign the person needs help!
    • Shallow, slowed, or abnormal breathing
    • Pinpoint/very small pupils
    • Gurgling/uneven snoring
    • Foaming at the mouth and nose
    • Blue lips, nails, or blue/grayish skin color
    • Signs of drug use (needles, pills, etc.)

Call 911 for emergency medical help right away 

  1. Tell the operator there's a person unresponsive at your location (give an address or nearest intersection). Stay with the person until help arrives.
  1. Place the person on their back to receive Narcan nasal spray.
  2. Remove NARCAN Nasal spray from the box.
    • Peel back the tab with the circle to open the NARCAN Nasal Spray.
  3. Hold the NARCAN Nasal Spray with your thumb on the bottom of the plunger and your first and middle fingers on either side of the nozzle.
  4. Gently insert the tip of the nozzle into either nostril. Tilt the person's head back and provide support under the neck with your hand. Gently insert the tip of the nozzle into one nostril, until your fingers on either side of the nozzle are on against the bottom of the person's nose.
  5. Press the plunger firmly to give the dose of NARCAN Nasal Spray. Remove the NARCAN Nasal Spray from the nostril after giving the dose.
  6. Give Rescue Breaths: Rescue breathing is one of the most important steps in an overdose response and restores oxygen to the brain. Due to COVID-19 risk, it is recommended that a face shield be used, and/or the person giving rescue breaths lives in the same household as the individual suffering from the overdose. If you cannot safely administer rescue breaths, continue to stay with the person and monitor them until emergency medical services arrives.
    • Tilt head back, pinch nose
    • Give 1 normal breath into the mouth, every 5 seconds
    • Watch to make sure the person's chest rises with the breath
    • Continue for 2-3 minutes
  7. Wait 2-3 Minutes: ​If the person does not respond by waking up, to voice or touch, or breathing normally, another dose may be given. NARCAN Nasal Spray may be dosed every 2 to 3 minutes, if available.
  8. Repeat Step 2 using a new NARCAN Nasal Spray to give another dose in the other nostril.If additional NARCAN Nasal Sprays are available, repeat step 2 every 2 to 3 minutes until the person responds or emergency medical help arrives.
  9. Place the person in the recovery position by rolling them onto their side, with their head supported by their hand, and top knee bent to prevent them from rolling onto their stomach.


It's very important that 911 is called so that the individual can receive a medical evaluation. Naloxone should wear off in 20-90 minutes - the short half-life of Naloxone and potentially much longer half-life of an opioid could allow the person to overdose again and stop breathing.

When the person wakes up, they will not remember overdosing, explain what happened. They may be confused or agitated, so help them stay calm by letting them know they overdosed, they were given Naloxone, and the medics are there to help them.

Person should be observed for at least four (4) hours; don't allow them to do more opioids.

Access to behavioral health treatment: If the person is interested in learning about treatment and recovery services, please call 1 (800) 838-1381 to get connected with local treatment options and information

Find Naloxone Near You

Mail order naloxone kits available

*at this time we are only able to mail to addresses within San Luis Obispo County. If you live outside of San Luis Obispo County, please email [email protected] and we will assist you with finding a naloxone resource near you.

SLO County residents can find Naloxone at the following community sites: 

  • County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Drug and Alcohol Clinics
    • Walk-in pickup available Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm

    • Locations:

      • 277 South St, Ste. T, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; (805) 781-4754
        2180 Johnson Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; (805) 781-4275

      • 1523 Longbranch Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433; (805) 473-7080

      • 805 4th Street, Paso Robles, CA 93446; (805) 226-3200

      • 3556 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422; (805) 461-6080
  • SLO Bangers Syringe Exchange Program

    • ​760 Morro Bay Blvd, Building B, Morro Bay, Mondays, 2:00 - 4:00pm

    • 2191 Johnson Ave, San Luis Obispo, Wednesdays, 5:30 - 8:15pm

 ​If you are NOT accessing syringe services for yourself or anyone else, but would still like naloxone, please call 805-458-0123, email [email protected], or reach out on Instagram @slo.bangers.

  • Cal Poly Campus Health and Wellbeing (for students, staff & faculty)

    • Thursdays, 11-1pm on the Health Center lawn, or 2-4pm in Cerro Vista Community Center.

Opioid Overdose Prevention Kits are available for all current members of the Cal Poly Community through Campus Health & Wellbeing. There is a short 10-15 minute training and you will be given an Overdose Prevention Kit including Narcan (the nasal spray version of naloxone).

Narcan is also available at no cost at the Health Center Pharmacy during normal business hours. Please call (805) 756-1211 for more information. 

  • Pharmacy Access

In March 2023 the FDA removed the prescription requirement for Narcan, allowing the medication to be sold over the counter at any retail pharmacy.

Use Google Maps to Find a pharmacy near you.

Naloxone FAQ's

Naloxone binds to opioid receptors in the brain and blocks the effects of other opioids. Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person if their breathing has slowed or stopped because of an opioid overdose. Naloxone can be safely administered via intramuscular or intranasal routes. It works in 2-3 minutes and will wear off in 30-90 minutes.

Naloxone is the general term for the medication that reverses opioid overdoses. Narcan is the name brand of naloxone in a single use, nasal spray. Naloxone is also available in other forms, such as manual intramuscular injectable naloxone, and naloxone with a nasal atomizer. They all offer different ways to administer naloxone.

Naloxone has no effect on someone who does not have opioids in a person's system. It will neither hurt nor help anyone who is not experiencing an opioid overdose.

Yes. Naloxone is a safe medication and will not have an adverse effect on a person without opioids in their system.

Fentanyl is a very strong opioid and can cause a person to go into respiratory arrest quickly. They will likely need multiple doses of naloxone, and emergency medical attention.

Yes, it is safest to still call 911, even if it appears the person has recovered. Since naloxone will wear off in 30-90 minutes, it is possible the person could have opioids in their system that could cause a second overdose. Medical professionals will be able to provide the necessary care to prevent subsequent overdoses.

California law protects a person experiencing an overdose from criminal charges if 911 is called for a medical emergency. Learn more about The Good Samaritan Law. 

AB 472, California’s 9-1-1 Good Samaritan Law, implemented January 1, 2013, added Section 11376.5 to the California Health and Safety Code and provides, in part:

That it shall not be a crime for: (1) a person to be under the influence of, or to possess for personal use, a controlled substance, controlled analog, or drug paraphernalia; or (2) a person who experiences a drug related overdose and who is in need of medical attention to be under the influence of, or to possess for personal use, a controlled substance, controlled substance analog, or drug paraphernalia IF that person under the influence, the person experiencing the overdose, or one or more other persons at the scene of the overdose, in good faith, seek medical assistance for the person experiencing the overdose and do not obstruct medical or law enforcement personnel. 

Notwithstanding, such a person MAY be arrested for: selling, providing, giving, or exchanging drugs; the forcible administration of drugs against a person’s will; and/or driving under the influence. 

(Health and Safety Code § 11376.5.)


AB 635, Relating to Drug Overdose Treatment, implemented January 1, 2014, amended Section 1714.22 of the California Civil Code and provides, in part: 

Notwithstanding any other law, a person who possesses or distributes an opioid antagonist [like naloxone or naltrexone] pursuant to a prescription or standing order shall not be subject to professional review, be liable in a civil action, or be subject to criminal prosecution for this possession or distribution. Notwithstanding any other law, a person not otherwise licensed to administer an opioid antagonist, but trained as required under Civil Code section 1714.22(d)(1), who acts with reasonable care in administering an opioid antagonist, in good faith and not for compensation, to a person who is experiencing or is suspected of experiencing an overdose shall not be subject to professional review, be liable in a civil action, or be subject to criminal prosecution for this administration. (Civil Code § 1714.22(f).)

California law protects an individual from liability when acting in good faith to help a person experiencing an overdose. It is legal for an individual to carry naloxone, and to administer it to a person who is unresponsive in an attempt to help in a medical emergency.

Having naloxone readily available does not encourage risky substance use, but can be the difference between life and death in an overdose event! It is best to err on the side of caution and have this life-saving medication in case of emergency. Naloxone is not a controlled substance, is non-addictive, and has no potential for abuse. It does not create a “high” effect and does not increase risk of relapse.

Naloxone should be stored at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.

Naloxone does expire, and the date will be printed on the medication. While it’s safest to get replacement naloxone if it’s expired, studies have shown naloxone to be effective at reversing overdoses for several months past the stated expiration date. If the only naloxone available is expired, it is better to use it than not use any.

  • Mixing substances
  • Using alone
  • Variation in strength and content of “street” drugs (purity), or strength/dosage of pharmaceuticals
  • Switching mode of admin (snorting to injecting, eating pills to snorting, etc.)
  • Tolerance changes (getting out of jail, leaving treatment, relapsing)
  • Physical health (liver functioning, weight loss, asthma, immune system problems, dehydration, malnutrition, etc.)
  • Opioid naïve (new user or person using a non-opioid that is laced with fentanyl)

Anyone using opioids (whether for recreational purposes or under medical care) is at risk of overdose and is recommended to have access to naloxone. This may also include people who use non-opioid illicit substances (such as stimulants or counterfeit pills), due to the increase of fentanyl found in a range of substances across California. Fentanyl is an opioid that can be deadly in very small doses. It is legal and safe for anyone to carry and use naloxone in case of emergency. One may consider carrying naloxone for many reasons, including:

  • using illicit substances, or having contact with someone who does
  • having an opioid prescription, or having contact with someone who does
  • having a loved one you think is using illicit drugs or misusing prescription medications
  • having a loved one in substance use treatment
  • living or working in an area where substance use is occurring
  • being concerned about opioid use in the community and wanting to be prepared to save a life