What is naloxone?
11 May, 2021
Facts about naloxone and what it's used for.
Naloxone is a life-saving antidote to an opioid overdose and can and does save lives. It's a prescribed medicine that comes in various different forms, but substance use services can supply it without prescription to those who need it. A minimum amount of training is required to carry naloxone but isn't too complicated; the training covers how to identify an overdose, respond, and the need to contact emergency services as soon as possible.
There are quite a few misconceptions about naloxone that can create barriers to the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities, and we wanted to share some facts with you that you may not know.
- Naloxone is not a treatment
Naloxone can reverse the serious effects of an overdose, but it isn't a treatment option. Its effects are short-term, buying valuable time for emergency services to attend to and treat the person professionally. The rate at which naloxone 'wears off' depends on the type of opioid ingested and the amount.
- Naloxone is not expensive to distribute
Some believe that naloxone is expensive to distribute, but actually, the cost doesn't vary hugely from the cost of an adult prescription in the UK. In addition, the initial investment in distribution could over time help reduce overdose deaths by 6.6% in the UK.
- Naloxone can be carried by anyone
You do not need to use drugs personally to carry naloxone. The UK government supports substance use services supplying naloxone to anyone from hostel managers to outreach workers and loved ones of people with substance addictions. They also say that if there is an emergent situation, anyone can use available naloxone to save a life. This highlights that it really can be used by anyone and everyone.
If you'd like to find out more about access to Naloxone and associated training, contact us and we can signpost you.