Five things you need to know about naloxone

Citizen News Service - CNS
You may think that superheroes only fight crime, but they can also fight serious public health issues like drug overdose – a major and often overlooked cause of death among people who inject heroin or other opioids. Armed with naloxone the safe, effective, and easy-to-use antidote to opioid overdose, I travel the world fighting the overdose epidemic. And I’m not the only superhero with naloxone. Drug users, their families, outreach workers, and police around the globe have been trained to use naloxone to save lives.

You can help too. Here are the five main things you need to know about naloxone:
  1. Used in emergency rooms for decades, naloxone saves lives and should be available at the scene of any overdose. Naloxone is extremely safe, cheap and easy to use. With overdose as a leading cause of death for drug users around the world making naloxone easily available to them and those around them is a no-brainer.
  2. Naloxone attracts participants to other life-saving public health services, including HIV treatment and harm reduction programmes. For many people who use drugs, overdose is a much more immediate problem than HIV or hepatitis. By offering drug users what they need – i.e. naloxone – programmes find that they often are able to engage new people in their other services, like HIV testing and treatment.
  3. Naloxone is empowering. People who rescue friends using naloxone can feel an increased sense of self-efficacy and pride. This may translate into people taking better care of their own health.
  4. Advocates for HIV and hepatitis C prevention and treatment should be advocates for naloxone. People who use drugs have a 74 percent greater risk of overdose if they are HIV-positive. One Australian study found that 72 percent of deaths among subjects with hepatitis C were from drug overdose or suicide—not from advanced liver disease as a result of hepatitis. Naloxone is especially vital as a safety net for drug users living with these viruses.
  5. You can start your own naloxone programme. In fact, naloxone is probably already legal in your country, and used in most operating rooms and emergency departments. To learn more, and to get the tools you need to start distributing naloxone to drug users, visit
Citizen News Service - CNS
November 2013

Note: This article was first published in 11th ICAAP INSIGHT, the official daily conference newspaper of 11th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (11th ICAAP) in Bangkok, Thailand. This newspaper was managed by Inis Communication and CNS.