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  • Writer's pictureNoah Carpine

Are You Prepared to Save a Life with Narcan in an Opioid Overdose Emergency? LAY - SPRAY - STAY

Learn about Narcan, a lifesaving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, and how you can get it for free at Center Point DAAC.

Narcan Nasal Spray

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. They can relieve pain, but they can also cause euphoria, drowsiness, and respiratory depression. When someone takes too much of an opioid, they can stop breathing and die. This is called an opioid overdose.

Opioid overdoses are a serious public health problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020, and nearly 70% of those deaths involved opioids. That's an average of 255 deaths per day.

In 2020, Sonoma County recorded 23.7 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents, which is 80% higher than the statewide rate of 13.2 per 100,000, according to data from the State Department of Public Health.  Among California’s 58 counties, Sonoma County has the 6th highest prevalence of opioid overdose deaths and the 4th highest prevalence of fentanyl-related deaths in 2020.

Good news: Sonoma's age-adjusted mortality rate for 2022 was 20.34 per 100,000 residents, a decrease of 20.43% from 2021. (Visit the CA Overdose Surveillance Dashboard for details.)

Buprenorphine prescriptions in the county are used to gauge the expansion of medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). The annual age-adjusted buprenorphine prescribing rate for 2022 was 48.22 per 1,000 residents, representing an 8% increase in treatment for SUDS (substance use disorders) from 2021.

Opioid overdoses are preventable and reversible. There is a medication called Narcan (also known as naloxone) that can quickly restore normal breathing and consciousness in someone who has overdosed on opioids. Narcan comes in multiple forms, including nasal sprays and liquid form for injectable administration, that anyone can use to save a life in an emergency.

In this blog, we will explain Narcan, how it works, how to use it, and how to get it for free at Center Point Drug Abuse Alternative Center (CP DAAC), a non-profit organization providing substance use disorder treatment and recovery services in Sonoma County. We offer various services, including detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, counseling, harm reduction, and syringe exchange services.

At Center Point DAAC, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to recover from opioid addiction and live a healthy and fulfilling life. That's why we provide free Narcan kits to anyone who needs them, no questions asked.

We also offer education and training on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose and how to access treatment and other resources.

If you or someone you know uses opioids, whether prescribed or illicit, you should have Narcan on hand. It could save a life.


How to get free Narcan kits at CP DAAC

At Center Point DAAC, our mission is to ensure that Narcan, a life-saving medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, is readily available and affordable for those who need it. As part of our commitment, we provide free Narcan kits to anyone who completes a brief Narcan training comes to our program in Santa Rosa, California, and picks up their free Narcan kit.

We aim to remove barriers to accessing this critical medication and save community lives. To get a free Narcan kit at Center Point DAAC, you need to follow these simple steps:

  • Attend our free, confidential, online training which lasts less than 30 minutes:

  • Come to our clinic at 2403 Professional Drive, Suite 103, Santa Rosa, California 95403, between the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

  • Ask for a Narcan kit. We will give you up to three kits per visit. Each kit contains two doses of Narcan and an instruction sheet.

  • Talk to our staff or peer educators if you need any information or referrals to treatment or other services if you are interested.

  • Take your Narcan kit home and keep it in a safe and accessible place. Check the expiration date and replace it when needed. Tell your friends and family about your Narcan and how to use it in an emergency.

You can also access other services we offer, such as HIV and hepatitis C testing and counseling, overdose prevention, and naloxone distribution, referrals to treatment and other social services, and education on safer syringe practices.

You can also talk to our staff or peer educators if you have any questions or concerns about your health, your substance use, or anything else. We are here to help you, not to judge you.


What is Narcan, and how does it work?

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a medication that can reverse the effects of opioids on the brain. It works by blocking the opioid receptors and displacing the opioids from them, which helps stop the opioids from slowing down breathing and heart rate. This can help restore normal breathing and consciousness.

Narcan is not addictive and does not have any effect on people who do not have opioids in their system.  Narcan may cause withdrawal symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and agitation, which indicate that Narcan is working.

What to do in an Opioid Emergency

How to use Narcan to save a life

If you think someone might be having an opioid overdose, it's really important to act quickly and follow these steps:

  • Check for signs of an opioid overdose, such as:

    • Unresponsive or unconscious

    • Slow, shallow, or no breathing

    • Slow, faint, or no pulse

    • Blue or pale skin, lips, or fingernails

    • Snoring or gurgling sounds (death rattle)

    • Pinpoint pupils

    • Call 911 and tell them that someone is unresponsive and not breathing. Please give them the location and any other relevant information. Stay on the line until help arrives.


  • What to do if someone is having an opioid overdose:

    • Try to wake the person up by shouting their name, making a fist and rubbing your knuckles along their teeth or sternum, shaking them. If they do not respond, perform rescue breathing or chest compressions ONLY if you know how.

    • Get the Narcan device and remove it from the box. Peel back the plastic tab to open the pouch and remove the device. Hold it with your thumb on the plunger (do not prim or prematurely press it) and your first and middle fingers on either side of the nozzle.

    • Gently insert the nozzle tip into one person's nostril until your fingers touch their nose. Press the plunger firmly to spray the Narcan into their nose. The device will make a click sound when it is activated.

    • Move the person to their side in case they vomit. Monitor their breathing and pulse, and look for any signs of improvement. If they do not respond within 2 to 3 minutes or stop breathing again, give them another dose of Narcan in the other nostril using a new device.

    • If you have the naloxone injection kit (Center Point DAAC does not provide injection kits, only the nasal spray version), remove it from the case and check the expiration date. Ensure the syringe's liquid is clear and not frozen or discolored. If the syringe is broken or expired, do not use it; get another one if possible.

      • Choose an injection site on the person's arm, thigh, or buttocks. The injection can be given through clothing if needed. Remove the yellow caps from the syringe and the needle. Screw the needle onto the syringe and twist until tight. Remove the purple cap from the needle and keep it pointing up.

      • Hold the syringe like a dart and insert it into the person's muscle at a 90-degree angle. Push the plunger down to inject the naloxone. The syringe will make a click sound when it is empty. Pull the needle out and place it in a safe container. Do not recap the needle or leave it lying around.

Move the person to their side in case they vomit. Monitor their breathing and pulse and look for any signs of improvement. If they do not respond within 2 to 3 minutes or stop breathing again, give them another dose of naloxone in a different injection site using a new syringe and needle.

  • Stay with the person until help arrives. Narcan can wear off in 30 to 90 minutes, and the person may relapse into an overdose. They may also be confused, angry, or in pain and need your support and reassurance.

  • Encourage the person to seek medical attention and treatment for their opioid use. Narcan is not a substitute for professional care, and it does not address the underlying causes of addiction. CP DAAC can help you find the best treatment options for you or your loved one.


Narcan is a lifesaving medication that can reverse an opioid overdose and restore normal breathing and consciousness. It is easy to use and safe to have on hand, especially if you or someone you know uses opioids. You can get free Narcan kits at Center Point DAAC and other services and support to help you improve your health and well-being.

At Center Point DAAC, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to recover from opioid addiction and live a healthy and fulfilling life. That's why we provide compassionate, comprehensive, and culturally in-tune care for individuals with substance use disorders.

We also believe in harm reduction, which involves strategies aimed at minimizing the negative effects of substance use without requiring abstinence or making judgments.

If you want to learn more about our services or need help with substance use, don't hesitate to contact us, visit one of our locations, or visit our website. We are here to support and guide you on your path to recovery.



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