Opioid overdose prevention programs providing take-home naloxone have been expanding internationally. This paper summarises findings and lessons learnt from the Overdose Prevention and Emergency Naloxone Project which is the first take-home naloxone program in Australia implemented in a health care setting.
The Project intervention provided education and take-home naloxone to opioid-using clients at Kirketon Road Centre and The Langton Centre in Sydney. The evaluation study examined uptake and acceptability of the intervention; participants' knowledge and attitudes regarding overdose and participants' experience in opioid overdose situations six months after the intervention. Participants completed baseline, post-training and follow-up questionnaires regarding overdose prevention and management which were analysed using repeated measures analysis of variance.
Eighty-three people participated in the intervention, with 35 (42%) completing follow-up interviews-51% reporting using naloxone with 30 overdoses successfully reversed. There were significant improvements in knowledge and attitudes immediately following training with much retained at follow-up, particularly regarding feeling informed enough (97%) and confident to inject naloxone (100%).
Take-home naloxone programs can be successfully implemented in Australian health settings. Barriers to uptake, such as lengthy processes and misperceptions around interest in overdose prevention, should be addressed in future program implementation.