Intended for healthcare professionals


Take home naloxone and the prevention of deaths from opiate overdose: two pilot schemes

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 14 April 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:895
  1. Kerstin Dettmer, project directora,
  2. Bill Saunders, directorb,
  3. John Strang, directorc (
  1. a Fixpunkt e V Mobilix, 10967 Berlin, Germany
  2. b Alcohol and Drug Service, Gloucester Lodge, St Saviour, Jersey, Channel Islands JE2 7LB
  3. c National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry and the Maudsley Hospital, London SE5 8AF
  1. Correspondence to J Strang
  • Accepted 13 December 2000

Doctors routinely give naloxone during emergency resuscitation after opiate overdose. The distribution of naloxone to opiate addicts has recently been addressed,14 and a survey of drug users shows extensive support for the provision of supplies to take away.4 We present the preliminary results of two pilot schemes to provide take home naloxone to opiate users.

Methods and results

The Berlin project

In January 1999 drug users in Berlin were given naloxone to take home. Opiate misusers attending a healthcare project (operating from a mobile van or ambulance) were offered training in emergency resuscitation after overdose, provided with naloxone (two 400 μg ampoules), needles, syringes, an emergency handbook, and information on naloxone. They were asked to report on any use of the drug. After 16 months, 124 opiate misusers had received training in resuscitation and were provided with supplies of naloxone to take away; 40 reported back, with 22 having given emergency naloxone (two on two occasions, one on three, and one on four).

Case 1 (Berlin)

“Three days ago, I was walking along the canal with a friend of mine. We saw a guy lying on the ground, with two people trying to help him—they were trying to help him breathe by mouth to mouth. When …

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