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.
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.More details
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.More details
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:
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.More details
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.
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.
The UK Government are seeking responses to their consultation to assess the viability of proposals to widen access to naloxone by expanding the list of services and individuals that can give it out without a prescription or other written instruction.