(CNN) - The drug naloxone is sometimes called a "save shot" or a "rescue shot" because of its ability to bring someone back from an overdose. Brand names for naloxone are Narcan and Evzio.

Opioids are a class of drugs that include legal painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illicit drugs, such as heroin or street fentanyl. Opioids work by attaching themselves to the body's natural opioid receptors and numbing pain. They can also create a sense of euphoria in some people. However, at the same time, they can slow breathing.

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When your body is in pain, neurotransmitters such as endorphins attach to the opioid receptors in the brain or other organs to numb the sense of pain. Opioid drugs mimic that reaction. However, with too much of an opioid, the body overdoses. Naloxone can literally kick the opioids off the receptors and bring someone back to breathing.

When someone overdoses, naloxone can be directly injected into the muscle or squirted into someone's nose.

How effective is naloxone?

Naloxone is extremely effective and can start working in minutes, depending on the dosage and potency of the drug taken. For more powerful opioids, such as fentanyl, it make take several doses. Naloxone is not addictive and has few side effects.

The drug works on someone only if there are opioids in their system already. It cannot prevent an overdose and cannot work on any other type of drug overdose.

However, the effects of naloxone can wear off in 20 to 90 minutes, so the idea is to rescue someone from an overdose and get them medical attention immediately.

Research conducted in 2017 by Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston found that when given naloxone, 94% of people survived their overdoes. 

In July 2019, the Phoenix Police Department started training its officers in the use of naloxone to treat opioid overdose victims.

Where can I find naloxone?

Both CVS and Walgreens drugstores are also making naloxone available without a prescription in at least 20 states across the country, including Arizona.

If you want to find naloxone near you, you can type in your current address in this map and it will tell you the closest place to get naloxone.


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