New study: Take-home naloxone in Australia

A team of researchers led by SSAC’s Professor Suzanne Fraser will begin work this month on a new project investigating impediments to uptake of ‘take-home’ naloxone in Australia. Entitled ‘Understanding the impediments to uptake and diffusion of take-home naloxone in Australia’, the project is funded by the Australian Research Council, and coordinated by research associate Dr Adrian Farrugia.

NDRI Profile picture AF

Project coordinator  Dr Adrian Farrugia

The project will begin with the formation of an advisory panel of peer advocates, healthcare workers and service providers. Adrian will then begin work developing the materials needed to conduct interviews and, later this year, commence recruitment.

Take-home naloxone is available both on prescription and over the counter, yet distribution to people at risk of overdose or connected with those at risk is weak. Programs providing take-home naloxone to opioid consumers exist in some Australian cities, but even here uptake remains minimal. The reasons for this are not well understood. This qualitative project will collect the stories of people who consume opioids, prescribers and pharmacists to better understand the issues surrounding take-home naloxone. It will then produce an online resource on experiences of overdose and the use of take-home naloxone. The aim is to inform those affected by overdose, professionals and the wider Australian community about take-home naloxone, to support distribution of the medication and save lives.

As Suzanne explains,

Opioid overdose is heavily freighted with stigmatising preconceptions about people who consume opioid drugs such as heroin. Those witnessing overdose may also be affected by these preconceptions, as may service providers otherwise equipped to support distribution of this lifesaving medication. Our job in this project is to explore these issues alongside the other concerns and practical obstacles our interview participants raise to find new ways to support the expansion of take-home naloxone in the community.

The project team comprises:

Chief investigators

Partner investigators

Research associate: Dr Adrian Farrugia