Forty-six states permit naloxone to be purchased without an individual prescription. Laws in the remaining states vary, with some permitting naloxone to be prescribed only for use on a patient of the prescriber, while others permit it to be prescribed for use on other people, such as friends and family members of the patient. In the District of Columbia, Narcan is available at retail pharmacies only via prescription. At least three community health organizations — HIPS, Family Medical and Counseling Service and Bread for the City — disburse it free without a prescription to clients and family members.

Pharmacy chains in Virginia and Maryland carry the medication. Prices for the Narcan nasal spray, which is distributed in two-dose packs, vary: A recent check showed a Fairfax County Rite-Aid charging $147.99, while a Carroll County, Md., CVS quoted a price of $144.99, and a Walgreens in the District was selling the same product for $135.99.

For most people with health insurance, the purchase of Narcan will be covered, according to Thom Duddy of Adapt Pharma, the maker of the spray. Co-payments vary, but he said that they will be $10 or less for 73 percent of those individuals. He said that many people without health insurance can obtain Narcan through Medicaid programs for a co-pay of $5 or less.

Most people who attend free community training programs in Maryland and Virginia leave with a pack of naloxone. The District's health department offers similar programs. For instruction about how to use Narcan and for information and resources about addiction and recovery, contact Virginia's Revive program (dbhds.­
), the Behavioral Health Administration in Maryland (
) and the D.C. Department of Health ( A website of the National Development and Research Institutes (at allows users to search for pharmacies, clinics and other facilities around the country that provide overdose help.

For online information about how to administer Narcan nasal spray, go to

Alexandra Rockey Fleming