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European Drug Report: Trends and Developments 2018

The 2018 report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction has been released, this report presents a top-level overview of the drug phenomenon in Europe, covering drug supply, use and public health problems as well as drug policy and responses.

The report covers the need for expanding naloxone provision as a response to overdose deaths:

Drug overdose deaths remain high in Europe, and opioids are implicated in the majority of cases. The emergence of fentanyl derivatives on the European drug market adds weight to the already considerable arguments for increasing the access to the opioid antagonist naloxone. There is growing evidence that the wider availability of this substance, combined with training in overdose recognition and response, can help prevent deaths among those using opioids. Naloxone provision is therefore being increasingly recognised in many countries as an important element in their overdose reduction strategy. The availability of fentanyl derivatives increase the risks in this area further, because of their potency and because they may be used by opioid-naive individuals or put at risk those accidentally exposed to them through their occupation — such as law enforcement officers. These developments point to an urgent need to review current naloxone policies and increase training and awareness-raising for both drug users and professionals who may encounter the drug. These reviews also need to take into account that new non-injectable formulations, such as nasal sprays, may facilitate use of naloxone in a wider range of settings

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