Opioid overdose prevention and response - Naloxone

Opioid overdose prevention and response - Naloxone

In Australia approximately one person dies every day from opioid overdose. The majority of both fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses occur at the home of the victim or in the company of others. Discussing overdose prevention and response strategies with people who use opioids can increase their knowledge and willingness to take action during an overdose.

Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. As of February 2016, Naloxone is now available without a prescription as a Schedule 3 (pharmacist only-over the counter) medicine. The original listing under Schedule 4 (requiring prescription) was also retained, maintaining the affordability of naloxone with continued access through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Naloxone is available in a 1ml (400 microgram) pre-filled syringe, a 1ml (400 microgram) ampoule or 2ml Prenoxad pre-filled syringe and can be injected intramuscularly. If using a minijet or Prenoxad syringe, a 23 gauge (blue) needle is required. If using an ampoule, a 23 gauge (blue) needle and syringe are required and are available at selected Clean Needle Program sites or pharmacies.

Naloxone distribution to people who inject opioids for ‘peer administration’ provides otherwise non-existent opportunities for overdose to be treated immediately. A brief conversation is all it takes to effectively educate people on how to recognise and respond to an overdose, including how to administer naloxone. Discussions can be quick and informal, and be incorporated within existing client interactions, particularly when engaging those at-risk of overdose. The resources below will help guide discussions.

Further information



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