Take-home naloxone to reduce heroin death
Article first published online: 23 NOV 2005
Volume 100, Issue 12, pages 1823–1831, December 2005
How to Cite
Baca, C. T. and Grant, K. J. (2005), Take-home naloxone to reduce heroin death. Addiction, 100: 1823–1831. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.01259.x
- Issue published online: 23 NOV 2005
- Article first published online: 23 NOV 2005
- Submitted 7 September 2004; initial review completed 1 February 2005; final version accepted 31 May 2005
- heroin-related death;
Background This paper reviews the relevant literature related to the distribution of take-home naloxone.
Methods A Medline search was conducted on articles published between January 1990 and June 2004 to identify scientific literature relevant to this subject. Those publications were reviewed, and from them other literature was identified and reviewed.
Results The prevalence, pathophysiology and circumstances of heroin overdose, and also bystander response are included in this review. Naloxone peer distribution has been instituted to varying degrees in the United States, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Conclusion At this point the evidence supporting naloxone distribution is primarily anecdotal, although promising. Although the distribution of naloxone holds promise for further reducing heroin overdose mortality, problems remain. Naloxone alone may be insufficient in some cases to revive the victim, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), especially rescue breathing, may also be needed. A second dose of naloxone might be necessary. Complications following resuscitation from overdose may infrequently need in-hospital care. Mortality from injecting without anyone else present will be unaffected by take-home naloxone. Take-home naloxone should be studied in a rigorous scientific manner.