Health and Counseling Services

Division of Student Life


Click the arrows below to find out more information about naloxone.

What is it?

Naloxone is a life-saving medication that works to reverse an opioid overdose. It can quickly restore normal breathing while having little to no effects on an individual if opioids are not present in their system.

Note: naloxone is the generic name for Narcan—you will often see them used interchangeably - they are the same drug.

Who is at risk of an opioid overdose?

  • People who use opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, M30, heroin, etc)
  • Risk is greater when combined with other substances such as alcohol or benzodiazepines (Xanax, etizolam, etc)
  • When using a non-opiate drug that is unknowingly laced with an opioid such as fentanyl (a powerful synthetic opioid)

How do I get access to naloxone/Narcan?

Naloxone/narcan is a medication that requires a licensed medical provider or pharmacist to prescribe. It can also be available for emergencies in dedicated emergency kits. Here in Portland, you can access naloxone in the following ways:

  • Prescription - directly from a pharmacist or from a medical provider
  • Emergency kits - located on campus and reserved for emergency use
  • Multnomah County Syringe Exchange Program.

Getting a prescription for naloxone/Narcan

Who can get a prescription for naloxone/Narcan?

  • Anyone!
  • You may choose to get a naloxone prescription for yourself if you are using opioids (oxycodone, oxycontin, heroin) or if you are using other substances and are concerned they may have unknown substances (like fentanyl) in them.
  • You may get a naloxone prescription to protect others such as family members or friends who are taking opioids or using substances that may unknowingly have opioids in them.

How can I get a prescription for naloxone/Narcan?

  • Pharmacist - Any pharmacist in Oregon can prescribe naloxone to you directly
    • You can ask for a nasal spray, vials of naloxone (for injection), or an auto-injector (like an “epi-pen”). You can discuss with a pharmacist which is the best fit for you.
  • Medical appointment - Anyone who can prescribe medication can send in a naloxone prescription to a pharmacy for you
    • You can make an appointment with someone at the HCC-appointments are quick (about 30 minutes). Call the HCC-(503)777-7281 or book an appointment with a provider through your student health portal.
    • Or you can make an appointment with an outside provider (primary care, family doctor, etc) to get a prescription for naloxone

How much does naloxone cost?

Every state has different laws, but traditionally (in Oregon) naloxone can only be dispensed with a prescription or directly from a pharmacist. Insurance coverage for naloxone varies based on your plan.

  • Out of Pocket (not using insurance) -
  • Insurance (recommend you verify with your insurance for your specific plan)
    • Aetna-Narcan (nasal or injectable naloxone) is covered under all Aetna plans. Coverage must be tied to the member who is using it, through the pharmacy claims system. Members also can pay for it themselves and then submit a claim for reimbursement.
    • Kaiser - need to check with your provider/pharmacy 
    • Blue Cross Blue Shield- Depends on policy, some offer for free (ie Independence, FEP) but some charge ~$120. Check on BC/BS website and put in the pharmacy you are using for up to date prices.
    • OHP- Free, 2 prescriptions per 12 months. 
    • Pacific Source- $35 
    • All others-check with your specific plan and some states give for free i.e. California.

Reed College Narcan/Naloxone Emergency Kit Program

Reed students have access to emergency naloxone/narcan across campus. There are 46 opiate overdose prevention kits across campus that contain a CPR shield and two doses of naloxone/Narcan brand nasal spray. See Community Safety Office (CSO) website for specific locations.

The emergency naloxone/narcan are meant to be available in an emergency (as the name suggests) so if you are interested in having naloxone with you “just in case” then we recommend you get a prescription to fill at a pharmacy. This will keep the emergency naloxone on campus available for those who may need it urgently. If you do need a kit during an emergency, please call 911 and and if on campus inform the CSOs who can provide basic first aid and help direct EMS to the correct location.

If you take a kit or notice one missing, please let CSOs know so that they can replace a missing one. This can be done by calling dispatch and letting them know the location of the missing one. You do not need to give your name. Letting the CSOs know as soon as possible will allow them to replace the missing dose so that it is available if another student needs it in an emergency.

Multnomah County Syringe Exchange Program

Overdose rescue kits are available for clients of Multnomah County’s syringe exchange. Clients complete a short training in how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. At the end of the training clients receive a kit that includes two doses of naloxone. Clients should schedule 20 minutes to complete the training and paperwork.

How and when do you use naloxone?

Naloxone nasal spray is easy to use. It will only work to reverse an opiate overdose and not an overdose from other substances. If you know opiates were involved or are unsure then it is recommended to use naloxone when you are noticing signs of an overdose.

Signs of an Opiate Overdose:

  • Will not wake up
  • Breathing is very slow, irregular or stopped
  • Center of eye is very small “pinpoint pupils”

It is recommended to watch one of the videos below to understand when and how to use naloxone nasal spray:

 The basic steps for using naloxone are as follows:

  • Identify opioid overdose and check for response
    • ASK if they are ok
    • SHAKE shoulders and rub middle of their chest
    • CHECK for signs of an opioid overdose
  • Give naloxone
  • Call for emergency help - 911 and if and if on campus inform the CSOs who can provide basic first aid and help direct EMS to the correct location.
    • Emergency help should be called as soon as possible.
    • Further doses of naloxone may be needed (but should wait 2-3 minutes between doses to use)
    • If the overdose is due to another substance, naloxone won’t work and they will need further care from medical professionals.

Who can administer?

Anyone! We recommend that you complete a training (watching a video like the one below is enough) on when and how to administer naloxone if you feel you are going to be in a situation where it needs to be used.

Oregon’s Good Samaritan Overdose Law:

If someone is overdosing and you call for medical help, you cannot be arrested or prosecuted for:

  • Possessing drugs or drug paraphernalia
  • Being in a place where drugs are used
  • Violating probation or parole because of drug use or possession
  • Outstanding warrant because of drug use or possession

Reed College Medical Amnesty Policy:

You will not get in trouble with Reed College if you are calling for help due to a medical concern. “According to this policy, when a student experiences a physical and/or psychological crisis while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (AOD), neither the student in crisis nor any student calling for help will be subject to disciplinary action for personal possession or use of illicit substances, including consumption of alcohol by minors.” - Reed College’s Alcohol and Drug (AOD) Policy

Important Phone Numbers

Emergency Numbers (available all hours)

Community Safety: 503-786-6666

Reed Counseling Hotline: 866-432-1224

Mental Health Crisis Text Line: 741741

After Hours Medical Advice: 800-214-7281

Oregon Poison Control: 800-222-1222

Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888

Reed College Health and Counseling Center (available M-F 9-5)

May call to make an appointment to get a prescription for naloxone, to talk to a provider about substance use, or schedule with a counselor. Reed HCC: 503-777-7281.

Substance Use Hotlines

  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-4357 (all hours)
    • Support for referrals to local treatment options
  • Fireside Project: 623-743-7433 (daily from 11 am - 11 pm PT)
    • Peer support line for emotional support during and after a psychedelic experience
  • Alcohol and Drug Helpline: 800-923-4357 (all hours)
    • For information, support, or access to resources and treatment for alcohol or drug use for yourself or others.

How To Respond to an Opiate Overdose

For information about recognizing and responding to an opiate overdose, check out the DOPE Project video below.