Update on take-home naloxone study

THN_Logo Mockup_v3Recruitment and interviewing for SSAC’s ARC-funded research on uptake and diffusion of take-home naloxone in Victoria and New South Wales are almost complete. After a successful recruitment period in Victoria, the SSAC team begun recruiting in NSW towards the end of 2017. The interviews with people who consume opioids and health professionals working in relevant areas have been very rich. Participants generously offered nuanced accounts of opioid consumption in their lives or work, experiences of overdose and knowledge and familiarity with take-home naloxone.

Although data analysis is still in its early stages, a number of interesting and important dynamics are already emerging. For example, a connection between interpersonal caring relations and take-home naloxone has materialised. Some participants describe the importance of caring for their family, friends and peers beyond the immediate reversal of an overdose and especially after revival. For these participants, take-home naloxone ensures that they are able to look after those close to them and people they may not know personally. Their desire to care for others forms an integral part of responding to opioid overdoses and take-home naloxone access. These participants want to ensure that, although a person may have been revived with take-home naloxone, she or he is still cared for more generally, especially in the first few hours after revival to ensure no further harm is experienced.

Describing this dynamic, research associate Dr Adrian Farrugia commented,

Our interviews speaks to the importance of focusing on people’s social relations when devising strategies to expand access to a health saving intervention like take-home naloxone. For the participants in this research, take-home naloxone forms a significant part of a more general concern for the welfare of others including those with similar experiences to their own.

These insights may be useful to future efforts to expand take-home naloxone uptake, by adding consideration of social dynamics and concerns to training programs covering overdose awareness and medication administration.

While recruitment for the project is almost complete, recruiting people living in Sydney metro with experience consuming opioids to manage chronic pain has proven challenging. There’s still a few interview places left and those people with relevant experience are encouraged to contact Dr Adrian Farrugia to arrange an interview (contact details below). A few places are also left for interviews with pain management specialists or general practitioners working in or around Sydney.

Contact details for Dr Adrian Farrugia

Phone: 03 9079 2205

Email: adrian.farrugia@curtin.edu.au