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Provision of naloxone to injection drug users as an overdose prevention strategy: Early evidence from a pilot study in New York City

Archived Abstract of Former PSC Researcher

Galea, Sandro, N. Worthington, T.M. Piper, V.V. Nandi, M. Curtis, and D.M. Rosenthal. 2006. "Provision of naloxone to injection drug users as an overdose prevention strategy: Early evidence from a pilot study in New York City." Addictive Behaviors, 31(5): 907-912.

Introduction: Naloxone, an opiate antagonist that can avert opiate overdose morality, has long been prescribed to drug users in Europe and in a few US cities. However, there has been little documented evidence of naloxone distribution programs and their feasibility in the peer reviewed literature in the US.

Methods: A pilot overdose prevention and reversal program was implemented in a New York City syringe exchange program. We assessed demographics, drug use, and overdose history, experience, and behavior at baseline, when participants returned for prescription refills, and 3 months after baseline assessment.

Results: 25 participants were recruited. 22 (88%) participants were successfully followed-up in the first 3 months; of these, 11 (50%) participants reported witnessing a total of 26 overdoses during the follow-up period. Among 17 most-recent overdoses witnessed, naloxone was administered 10 times; all persons who had naloxone administered lived.

Discussion: Naloxone administration by injection drug users is feasible as part of a comprehensive overdose prevention strategy and may be a practicable way to reduce overdose deaths on a larger scale.

DOI:10.1016/j.addbeh.2005.07.020 (Full Text)

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