Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. It’s an important day at Windana, and for anyone who has lost people they love to overdose. It’s a chance to take a moment and remember loved ones who have died and the impact this has on those left behind, and those who have suffered permanent injury from a drug overdose.
It’s also an opportunity to talk about evidence-based overdose prevention and the part each of us can play in reducing the stigma linked to substance use and overdose.
We all want to live in a world where overdose no longer claims the lives people in our communities. While Naloxone is a proven and safe intervention for those experiencing an overdose, it’s expensive to buy over the counter and community awareness around its availability and use is low. We need to increase community awareness and confidence in the use of Naloxone as a life-saving treatment for opioid overdose. That’s why for this year’s IOAD Windana is focusing on the use of Naloxone, and its potential to save lives.
What is Naloxone?
The Penington Institute explains that Naloxone is a type of medicine which temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdose allowing the person to breathe again while help is on its way.
How does Naloxone work?
When a person has an opioid overdose, they lose consciousness and their breathing can slow and even eventually stop. This results in damage to the brain and other organs and, eventually, death.
Naloxone works by blocking the effects of opioid drugs and allowing regular breathing to resume. It is usually injected into a muscle or delivered by a nasal spray and works for around 30 – 60 minutes.
Why increasing awareness about Naloxone is important
Increasing community awareness and knowledge about the use of Naloxone and how to access can save lives. In Victoria, Naloxone is available over the counter at pharmacies and other health services. It is recommended for all people on Pharmacotherapy to keep a supply of Naloxone on hand for use in the case of opioid overdose, and to educate friends and family in how to administer.
Knowing how to give someone Naloxone when they need it could save the life of someone you love, and we encourage you to look at the links below for further information.
Further information on Naloxone
- First Step – information on Naloxone availability in Victoria, and The World’s Largest Overdose Awareness Training 2020 – https://www.firststep.org.au/resources
- Australian Drug Foundation – https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/naloxone/
- The Penington Institute’s Community Overdose Prevention Education program – https://www.penington.org.au/cope-overdose-first-aid/
- Saving Lives: Australian naloxone access model – https://www.penington.org.au/report-naloxone-access/
- Community use of Naloxone for opioid overdose – https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/community-use-of-naloxone-for-opioid-overdose
- Naloxone UK – How to… – https://naloxone.org.uk/how-to/