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DOCUMENT 2016 HTM file
Harm reduction database Wales: take home naloxone 2015–16
Report charting the roll-out of ‘take-home naloxone’ in Wales up to 2016, a harm-reduction measure implemented to prevent deaths involving opiate-type drugs.
STUDY 2016 HTM file
Reducing opioid-related deaths in the UK
The UK’s official drug policy advisers conclude that the ageing profile of heroin users with increasingly complex health needs has contributed to recent increases in drug-related deaths, and that to hold down the increases government must maintain investment in substitute prescribing programmes like methadone maintenance.
HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Overdose deaths in the UK: crisis and response
One of our selection of hot topics – important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. Why did the fall in UK drug overdose deaths in 2009 to 2012 so decisively reverse in the following years? A life-threatening turn away from harm reduction, or simply an ageing population of heroin users?
In 2011 Scotland became the first country to fund a national policy of distributing the opiate-blocker naloxone to prevent deaths involving opiate-type drugs. According to this evaluation it did prevent deaths where the effect was most likely to be seen – in the weeks after release from prison.
HOT TOPIC 2017 HTM file
Overdose antidote naloxone takes harm-reduction centre stage
‘Hot topics’ offer background and analysis on important issues which sometimes generate heated debate. National programmes distributing the opiate overdose antidote naloxone have become the great hope for curbing the rise in overdose deaths, but England is lagging behind the rest of the UK – and planning for the likelihood not of recovery but relapse may for some services and patients be hard to accept.
How confident can we be that take-home naloxone programmes are effective without the ‘gold standard’ randomised trial? Judged against nine criteria for establishing the presumption of causality, evidence that the provision of naloxone reduces overdose-related deaths among opioid users.
Important implications for overdose prevention policy and practice in Scotland and the UK from this qualitative study which provides the first detailed insights into how people who inject drugs experience administering naloxone rescue kits.
In the Canadian province of British Columbia there was a rapid rise in overdose deaths from 2015, leading to the declaration of a public health emergency in 2016. The response rested on three key interventions: take-home naloxone, opioid substitution therapy, and drug consumption rooms. The province’s highly detailed surveillance data offered an opportunity to estimate their collective and individual impacts on opioid overdose deaths.
A Danish programme targeted potential bystanders of opioid overdoses, providing training and supplies of the ‘overdose antidote’ naloxone. People who use opioids were the most likely to intervene in an overdose situation, highlighting their positive role as “public health collaborators”.
Emergency department physicians regularly treat people who have had an opioid overdose, but they may not be making the most of the opportunity to provide take-home naloxone. Can a prompt in the patients’ electronic health records boost prescribing of this lifesaving ‘overdose antidote’?
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