Publications & Reports

An observational prospective cohort study of naloxone use at witnessed overdoses, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine.

Dietze P, Gerra G, Poznyak V, Campello G, Kashino W, Dzhonbekov D, Kiriazova T, Nikitin D, Terlikbayeva A, Krupchanka D, Busse A
Behaviours and Health Risks Program, Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Rd, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia.


Objective: To determine whether participation in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Stop Overdose Safely (S-O-S) take-home naloxone training project in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine resulted in naloxone use at witnessed opioid overdoses. Methods: An observational prospective cohort study was performed by recruiting participants in the implementation of the S-O-S project, which was developed as part of the broader S-O-S initiative. Training included instruction on overdose responses and naloxone use. Study participants were followed for 6 months after completing training. The primary study outcome was participants' naloxone use at witnessed overdoses, reported at follow-up. Findings: Between 400 and 417 S-O-S project participants were recruited in each country. Overall, 84% (1388/1646) of participants were interviewed at 6-month follow-up. The percentage who reported witnessing an overdose between baseline and follow-up was 20% (71/356) in Tajikistan, 33% (113/349) in Kyrgyzstan, 37% (125/342) in Ukraine and 50% (170/341) in Kazakhstan. The percentage who reported using naloxone at their most recently witnessed overdose was 82% (103/125) in Ukraine, 89% (152/170) in Kazakhstan, 89% (101/113) in Kyrgyzstan and 100% (71/71) in Tajikistan. Conclusion: Implementation of the UNODC-WHO S-O-S training project in four low- to middle-income countries resulted in the reported use of take-home naloxone at around 90% of witnessed opioid overdoses. The percentage varied between countries but was generally higher than found in previous studies. Take-home naloxone is particularly important in countries where emergency medical responses to opioid overdoses may be limited.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Bulletin of the World Health Organization
  • Published: 01/03/2022
  • Volume: 100
  • Issue: 3
  • Pagination: 187-195