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While the bulk of this FAQ deals with naloxone in general and will be correct for an international readership certain aspects are focused on information for the UK. Please make sure to check the law in your area if outside the UK.

  • Who should carry naloxone?

    Anyone who is in situation where they may be with, or find someone who has had an overdose of opiates. This can include drugs workers, hostel workers, the police, family members but most importantly people who use drugs (PWUD). PWUD are the most likely group to be there when someone overdoses and as such become first responders.
  • Are there any side effects to using naloxone?

    Like other medicines, naloxone can cause side effects in some individuals. However, because you normally give naloxone to an individual you believe is facing an imminent fatal opiate overdose, such risks of side effects are largely irrelevant in the decision on whether to use it or not.

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  • Who can supply naloxone in the UK?

    Under regulations that came into force in October 2015, people working in or for drug treatment services can, as part of their role, supply naloxone to others that their drug service has obtained, if it is being made available to save a life in an emergency. You do not need a prescription to supply naloxone in this way.

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  • Who can be supplied with take home naloxone?

    Regulations do not limit supply to specific individuals, except to state that the “supply shall be for the purpose of saving life in an emergency”. Therefore, drug services can supply naloxone to:

    • an outreach worker
    • a hostel manager
    • drug user at risk
    • carer, a friend, or a family member of a drug user at risk
    • any individual working in an environment where there is a risk of overdose for which the naloxone may be useful
  • Can someone under 18 be supplied naloxone?

    There is no legal restriction under the legislation on the supply to children or young persons of naloxone by a drug treatment service. However, any decision to supply naloxone to a child would need very careful consideration and oversight and would need to be made on a case by case basis.

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  • Can police be supplied with naloxone?

    Under pre-existing legislation, police doctors can order stocks of naloxone and give it to individual police officers who may come across opiate users, for example in custody suites.

    Police and crime commissioners who have commissioned custody suite intervention services for drug users will need to use PGDs or PSDs.

  • I have naloxone but it has expired, what should I do?

    Get a new kit! If possible you should contact your local provider and get a resupply (you can return the out of date kit to them). However if before you can do this you are in a position where you have to respond to an overdose and it is the only thing you have, use it. Like most other medication, naloxone will start to lose its effectiveness after its expiration date. However, it may be strong enough to reverse an overdose if that is the only kit that is available.
  • Does naloxone work on fentanyl overdoses?

    In the US fentanyl is in a large portion of the drug supply. We have now also started seeing it appearing in some parts of the UK. Naloxone will work on fentanyl overdose, although it has to be understood that because of the speed of fentanyl overdose responding needs to be far faster. Also the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said “Multiple doses of naloxone may need to be administered per overdose event because of fentanyl and fentanyl analog’s increased potency relative to other opioids,”.

    If fentanyl is suspected to be in the drug supply in an area it would be sensible to supply people with multiple naloxone kits.