Thursday, June 21, 2012

Normalization of naloxone

There has been a deluge of support for take-home naloxone lately. 

To name just a few (mostly U.S.) developments ...

It seems that overdose death, like fatality from motor vehicle accidents, is finally being recognized as preventable, and naloxone as the seatbelt. 

This is not remotely a comprehensive list of what's happening. Please post other developments, by commenting here or by contacting an editor to publish a more detailed story.


  1. I think you need to start distinguishing between those naloxone initiatives directed primarily toward drug-addicted persons and the relatively few that might also apply to the general public who are taking opioids for pain. It seems that government officials and agencies are not yet accepting that naloxone is a potentially life-saving measure for ALL persons taking opioids for any reason, and should be made more readily available via multiple distribution streams.

  2. There actually is growing recognition of the potential for naloxone to save lives among people who are prescribed opioids. That's certainly reflected in some of the discussions that happened recently around the FDA workshop, some things CDC has put out, etc. But you're right, there's much less action compared to what's happened around heroin and harm reduction programs. I think that's due to there being very different constituencies (at least on the health provider side), and the doctors, hospital bureaucracies, etc who need to push naloxone access for prescription opioids are naturally going to be more conservative. Not to mention basic administrative problems like how is naloxone paid for through insurance.

    In any case, there are good demonstration projects, like Project Lazarus in NC, that have been around a while, and there's been a huge shift in federal and state government attention to the subject over the last year or two, so I'm hopeful we'll see some positive movement sooner than later.

  3. Of course there is nothing to stop people who take prescription opiods from using existing naloxone training programs that are geared towards IV drug users, since the training and administration is exactly the same. Some programs give kits to people trained to administer it. Of course this means people who are taking prescription opiods need to be made aware of naloxone and where to go to obtain it.