FEATURED RESEARCH

Finding a Needle in a Haystack: Take-Home Naloxone in England 2017/18

Release surveyed each of the 152 local authority areas in England, as local authorities are responsible for commissioning drug services, which give out take-home naloxone. The report includes findings on the availability of take-home naloxone across local authority areas, the scale of take-home naloxone supply in community settings, and coverage among people who use opiates and opiate clients in drug treatment.

Recomendations
  • Recommendation 1
    Take-home naloxone should be provided in every local authority in England.
  • Recommendation 2
    Local authorities should be giving out at least one take-home naloxone kit for every person using opiates in their area.
  • Recommendation 3
    Local authorities should make take-home naloxone available to any person requesting it, particularly to groups that are at risk of having an opiate-related overdose or are likely to witness someone having an opiate-related overdose.
  • Recommendation 4
    Local authorities should remove any unnecessary requirements to receive take-home naloxone, particularly requirements to engage with services providing take-home naloxone.
  • Recommendation 5
    Local authorities should monitor take-home naloxone provision in their area, including by recording the number of naloxone kits purchased and dispensed, and by monitoring expiry dates of naloxone for recalls and reissues.
  • Recommendation 6
    Support and guidance for local authorities on the local provision of naloxone should be provided nationally in England as a matter of urgency to assist in co-ordination and monitoring of provision and gaps.

Latest Research

Impacts of overdose: Evaluating the effects of grief and loss from overdose on people who inject drugs and developing an intervention to address them

Many people who inject drugs, and people who work in harm reduction services, are living with grief and loss stemming from the ongoing crisis of opioid-overdose related deaths. These experiences of loss can take a psychological toll, yet there are few bereavement services available for people with theses experiences.

Modeling Mitigation Strategies to Reduce Opioid-Related Morbidity and Mortality in the US

Question  What is the projected burden of the opioid epidemic in fatal overdoses, and interventions such as prescribing reductions, naloxone distribution, and treatment expansion associated with mitigation of the epidemic? Findings  In this decision analytical model of the US population aged 12 years or older, under status quo, an estimated 484 429 individuals were projected to die of fatal opioid overdose over 10 years. A combination of reducing opioid prescribing, increasing naloxone distribution, and expanding treatment for opioid use disorder was associated with an estimated 179 151 lives saved when compared with the status quo.

Evaluation of Injectable Naloxone-Releasing Hydrogels

The mechanical, chemical, and structural properties of the nanofibrous hydrogel enable subcutaneous administration and slow, diffusion-based release kinetics of naloxone over 30 days in vitro. The naloxone hydrogel scaffold showed cytocompatibility and did not alter the β-sheet secondary structure or thixotropic properties characteristic of self-assembling peptide hydrogels. Our results show that this biocompatible and injectable self-assembling peptide hydrogel may be useful as a vehicle for tunable, sustained release of therapeutic naloxone. This therapy may be particularly suited for preventing renarcotization in patients who refuse additional medical assistance following an overdose.

ddressing co-occurring public health emergencies: The importance of naloxone distribution in the era of COVID-19

Until recently, the overdose crisis has been at the forefront of public health efforts in the United States (US). However, with the COVID-19 pandemic and rapid rise in cases across the country, attention has quickly shifted at the federal and state levels from overdose response to minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Rapid public health approaches have been implemented across jurisdictions, including widespread business closures, transitions to telemedicine, temporary closures of parks, and social distancing orders. While necessary to flatten the epidemiological curve of the pandemic, these public health approaches have largely failed to account for the unintended consequences such policies have on structurally vulnerable populations, including people who use drugs (PWUD).

Saving Lives in the time of COVID-19

Case Study of Harm Reduction, Homelessness and Drug Use in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin has outperformed even best-case scenarios for COVID-19 mortality among homeless and drug using populations… the importance of strategic clarity and delivery, housing, lowered thresholds to methadone provision, Benzodiazepine (BZD) provision and Naloxone availability were key determinants of policy success. Further, given the rapid collapse in policy barriers to these interventions that COVID-19 produced, it is important to secure and protect these improved policy responses into the post-COVID19 era.

Addiction stigma and the production of impediments to take-home naloxone uptake

Abstract: Opioid overdose deaths are a major health issue in Australia and around the world. Programmes to provide opioid consumers with ‘take-home’ naloxone to reverse overdose exist internationally, but uptake by mainstream health services and consumers remains inconsistent. Researchers have identified a range of important educational, training and logistical impediments to take-home naloxone uptake and distribution, yet they have focused less on the social dynamics that can enhance or limit access, such as stigma.

 
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