Publications & Reports

Methadone- and buprenorphine-related ambulance attendances: a population-based indicator of adverse events.

Nielsen S, Dietze P, Cantwell K, Lee N, Taylor D
Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Victoria, Australia. [email protected]


This study examined the nature and extent of methadone- and buprenorphine-related morbidity through a retrospective analysis of ambulance service records (N = 243) in Melbourne, Australia. Cases in which methadone and buprenorphine were implicated are examined. Demographic and presenting characteristics, transport outcomes, and other substance use were explored. There were 84 buprenorphine-related attendances and 159 methadone-related attendances recorded on the database over the 4-year period. Presenting signs (respiratory rate and Glasgow Coma Scale score) were lower in the methadone-related attendances. Most of the attendances resulted in transport to hospital. Most presentations did not involve traditional signs of opioid overdose, a finding that warrants further investigation. This is the first article to describe characteristics of methadone- and buprenorphine-related ambulance attendances, with results suggesting this may be a useful way to monitor harms associated with these medications in the future.


  • Journal: Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Published: 01/12/2008
  • Volume: 35
  • Issue: 4
  • Pagination: 457-461


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