Up to 3,000 lives saved in first year of Take-Home Naloxone program
In the wake of International Overdose Awareness Day (31 August), it’s worth noting that it is now estimated that in its first year alone, the Take Home Naloxone (THN) program has saved 3,000 lives.
The national THN program provides naloxone to anyone who may experience, or witness, an opioid overdose or adverse reaction for free and without a prescription. Since the THN program began on 1 July 2022, an estimated 3,001 doses have been used by Australians experiencing or witnessing an opioid overdose or adverse reaction, which is the equivalent of 8 uses per day.
Over 110,000 Australians are currently living with opioid dependence, and 45.7% of unintentional drug-induced deaths in 2021 involved opioids.
“The Take Home Naloxone program has saved Australian lives,” said the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s national president, Dr Fei Sim. “Evidence from the first year of the THN program shows that pharmacists are well-placed to provide naloxone, whether alongside a prescribed opioid or as a stand-alone supply.
“We are urging anyone taking opioids, or caring for someone who does, to have a conversation with your local pharmacist about having naloxone on-hand. We can also provide advice about identifying an opioid overdose and how to respond during an emergency.
“Over recent years we have seen more cases of illicit party drugs being spiked with acetyl-fentanyl which can cause opioid overdoses even in small amounts. The Take Home Naloxone program could save your life, or the life of a friend.”
Take Home Naloxone is available to Australians through their local pharmacist. We recommend calling ahead to ensure your local pharmacy participates in the THN program and has available stock. If you run into problems, give Hepatitis SA a call on 1800 437 222 and ask for Carol or a CNP Peer.
You can also ring and ask for more general information about naloxone or preventing overdose, or visit overdoselifesavers.org.