Naloxone (also called Narcan) reverses an opioid overdose. It is easy to use, and there are no severe side effects—even if someone is not experiencing an overdose. You can purchase naloxone at a Maryland pharmacy without a prescription or receive it as a recipient of our CRRS services or as a bystander who has taken one of our naloxone trainings. 

Since 2015, BCHD and its partners have trained more than 43,000 Baltimore residents - and saved the lives of nearly 3,000 family members, friends, and neighbors.

Baltimore City’s Standing Order: A Blanket Prescription

On October 1, 2015, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen issued a jurisdiction-wide standing order for naloxone. This allowed the medication to be dispensed by pharmacies and overdose response program employees or volunteers. The standing order serves as a blanket prescription for all City residents, meaning you can buy naloxone from a pharmacy without getting an individualized prescription from your doctor. Baltimore City was the first jurisdiction in Maryland to expand access to naloxone using a standing order. As of June 1, 2017, no training is required before purchase: anyone in Maryland can get naloxone from a pharmacy without a prescription or training certificate. Baltimore residents may use the State’s standing order issued by Howard Haft, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, DHMH. Today, you can receive Narcan from any MDH-registered Overdose Response Program or Syringe Service Program. With the addition of the STOP Act enacted across Maryland, there are more options now than ever to receive naloxone free of charge. 

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How to Use Naloxone

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Naloxone Training Sessions

BCHD offers live and online naloxone training.

  • Online naloxone training – get trained to administer naloxone and save a life from opioid overdose by watching this brief video.
  • Attend live training. Find the times and locations of upcoming training here.

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Overdose Response Programs

Baltimore City’s Overdose Response Programs distribute naloxone to residents at high risk of opioid overdose. Between 2015 and August 2018, BCHD and its partners have trained more than 43,000 Baltimore residents - and saved the lives of nearly 3,000 family members, friends, and neighbors.

Spike Response

In partnership with the Baltimore City Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB), BCHD launched an overdose spike alert and response system in the fall of 2016. When a spike in non-fatal overdoses is detected, which is several overdoses in a small area over a short period—we send an alert to the community and community-based organizations who have opted into receiving the alerts. Our goal is to dispatch street-based outreach teams to distribute naloxone in the CSAs where the overdoses are occurring. 

Leave Behind Program 

The Baltimore City Health Department and EMS, with support from the Behavioral Health Administration, launched a naloxone “leave-behind” pilot beginning in the summer of 2018. When responding to overdose-related 911 calls, EMS providers have distributed or left behind over 1500 kits of naloxone to members of the family, friends, and/or other residents in the area, or at the scene of the health emergency. This program allows micro-targeting the distribution of naloxone—getting it into the hands of those most likely to save a life—even when the number of non-fatal overdoses in an area is not significant enough to trigger a complete spike response.

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