Using Naloxone

NOTE: Naloxone is available in various forms such as one dose ampoule, multi dose ampoule, pre filled syringe and intranasal spray. Availability will depend on area of residence. This site focuses on single dose for injecting – consult with local drug service to see local availability.

  • Naloxone is a Prescription Only Medicine
  • Can be supplied to individual considered to be at high risk of future opioid overdose as take home medication
  • Law allows that Naloxone can be given by any member of the public for the purpose of saving a life
  • Prescribed by Consultant/GP or other medical staff (usually registered nurses) under Patient Group or Specific Direction
  • Supply dependent of user being trained in overdose prevention and Naloxone administration
  • Protocols: PGD/SDG, training, competency, consent and monitoring

Preparing Naloxone for injecting

Injecting Naloxone safely
  • Remove syringe and needle from package
  • Attach needle to syringe
  • ‘Tap’ ampoule to remove Naloxone from ampoule neck
  • Carefully ‘snap’ ampoule
  • Insert needle and draw up Naloxone – aspirate syringe
  • Identify injecting site

Injecting Naloxone

  • Inject into the outer thigh, upper arm or outer part of buttock
  • Hold needle (like a dart) 90 degree above skin
  • Spread skin – insert needle into muscle (needs pressure)
  • Slowly and steadily push plunger all the way down
  • Remove needle and syringe
  • Safely dispose of needle, syringe and used ampoule
  • Quadriceps Muscle (upper thigh)
    Quadriceps Muscle
    (upper thigh)
  • Deltoid Muscle (upper arm)
    Deltoid Muscle
    (upper arm)
  • Gluteal Muscles (buttocks outer)
    Gluteal Muscles
    (outer buttocks)

After Naloxone injection

  • Can take several minutes (2-5) to start working
  • If responsive and breathing place in recovery position
  • The person may be confused. Explain to them what happened
  • Advise the person not to walk away until they have been seen by the paramedics
  • Advise them to not use any further drugs
  • Remind the person that naloxone will wear off in a little while and the opiate effect will gradually return
  • If they refuse to go to hospital, explain to them that they might slip back into overdose over the next 2-3 hours