The basics about naloxone

How long has naloxone been used?

Naloxone has been traditionally utilized by emergency response and public safety personnel since the FDA approved it as a response for opioid overdose in the United States in 1971. During the 1990s, it became a regional intervention in some areas of the United States for preventing fatal overdoses by minimally trained laypeople. In the 2010s, this intervention expanded and individuals began obtaining increasing amounts of naloxone through community organizations, healthcare providers, pharmacies, and harm reduction agencies allowing persons who use drugs and their friends and family to respond to emergency overdose situations.

In Maine, the state began to distribute and administer doses of naloxone during 2016 to public safety personnel through the Maine Attorney General’s naloxone distribution program. This was expanded in 2019 to include community distribution of State-supplied naloxone through four harm reduction and municipal public health partners including Bangor Public Health, Maine Access Points, MaineGeneral, and Portland Public Health.

Is naloxone legal?

Both intranasal and intramuscular naloxone is legal in the state of Maine. The passage of LD 994 in 2021 eliminates the crime of illegal possession of hypodermic syringes from state law making vial and syringe intramuscular naloxone legal to possess.

Is naloxone safe?

Naloxone is a safe, and non-scheduled (not addictive), prescription medication that works by countering the respiratory suppression and central nervous system suppression which occur during an opioid overdose. Naloxone only works if opioids are present in the body. If there are no opioids present, naloxone has no effect: positive or negative.

Are there any legal liabilities for administering naloxone?

Individuals who in good faith administer naloxone to persons they believe are experiencing opioid-related drug overdoses are immune from criminal and civil liability.

If I administer naloxone does that mean I do not need to call 9-1-1?


  • Act immediately
    • Dying from an overdose is usually a gradual process taking anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
    • An opioid overdose needs immediate medical attention.
    • All you have to say is “Someone is unresponsive and not breathing.”
    • Be sure to give a specific address and/or description of your location.

How does the medication look?

Naloxone comes in many preparations including intranasal, intramuscular, intravenous, auto-injectors, and others. In Maine, State-supplied naloxone typically comes in two preparations: Narcan® intranasal naloxone kits and intramuscular syringe and vial doses.

Where can I obtain naloxone?

Naloxone can be obtained through several state programs, harm reduction organizations, syringe access programs, medical providers, and pharmacists. To find out the best location for you to obtain naloxone click below.

How can I learn more about the Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative?

The Maine Naloxone Distribution Initiative distributes State-supplied naloxone to individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout Maine. The primary tier one distributors presented on each of their respective organizations at the September 10, Maine Opioid Seminar Series. You can download the PowerPoint presentation and watch the recorded presentation below.

Where can I get an overdose response and naloxone administration training?

If you are interested in obtaining overdose response and naloxone administration training for yourself, your organization, or your business please click below to determine which Tier 1 community naloxone distribution partner serves your county and can provide the training.

Is there an app for that?

The OD-ME mobile phone app teaches how to respond to an overdose and administer naloxone through audio and visual instructions that you can follow step-by-step during the stress of responding to an overdose event. It is not a substitute for formal training but is a good reminder of what you learned in an Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution training. (See screenshots below)