BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – According to the CDC, nearly 50,000 people died from an opioid-involved overdose in 2019 and bystanders were present in more than one third of such incidents. 

Naloxone – otherwise known by its brand name Narcan – is an over-the-counter medication used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids, usually in the case of an overdose, and can be administered via injection or nasal spray. Typically, it only takes Narcan 2 to 3 minutes to take effect, according to the CDC.

The state of Alabama offers a variety of options for getting doses of Narcan to have in case of emergency, and no prescription is needed.

In 2021, Narcan was authorized to be accessed without a prescription in every state in the U.S. Currently, Ohio, Delaware and Iowa provide free Narcan, and cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago distribute free Narcan at libraries, according to GoodRx

Pharmacies in the state of Alabama that offer Narcan include Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Winn-Dixie, Costco, Publix and Kroger, amongst others. Each box contains a 4mg, two-spray Naloxone dose. 

 The price of Narcan in Alabama typically ranges from $45 to $130. 

Generally, health insurance will cover Narcan, though there may be a co-pay. Medicaid covers some form of Narcan in all 50 states, while Medicare occasionally covers Narcan, according to the plan. 

The Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) also offers free Narcan kits to anyone who completes their online training program

The CDC identifies the following as signs that someone is overdosing: falling asleep or losing consciousness; a limp body; weak breathing; choking or gurgling sounds; cold and clammy skin; discolored skin; and “pinpoint pupils.”

If you spot these symptoms, the CDC recommends you

  • Call 911
  • Administer Narcan, if available 
  • Try to keep the person awake and breathing
  • Lay the person on their side to prevent choking
  • Stay with the person until emergency assistance arrives.

Narcan cannot harm someone who is overdosing from a non-opioid drug, according to the CDC, so it is always best to go ahead and administer Narcan.

International Overdose Awareness Day is celebrated annually on August 31. To learn more, visit the International Overdose Awareness Day website.