Naloxone is an easy-to-use, lifesaving antidote to overdose from heroin or other opioids. Used in hospitals for decades, the medication has no abuse potential, costs as little as one dollar for a lifesaving dose and can be administered with basic training.
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In countries around the world, naloxone distribution programs have trained drug users, their families and friends to identify the signs of overdose, administer naloxone, and ultimately, save lives. These efforts have reversed tens of thousands of overdoses, and show that drug users and their communities can take positive steps to protect their health.Get the Facts
In Russia, one NGO attracted 900 new drug using clients when it started its naloxone distribution program.
The Georgian Harm Reduction Network is advocating to change the policy that requires police to be notified every time emergency services respond to an overdose.
In Tajikistan, nongovernmental organizations won an order from the Ministry of Health allowing them to store up to 500 vials of naloxone and distribute them to people at risk of overdose.
In Kyrgyzstan, the Global Fund supports the purchase of $25,000 worth of naloxone a year, and the Ministry of Health allows for its distribution directly to drug users through nongovernmental organizations.
In the first year of Kazakhstan’s overdose pilot, 137 naloxone kits were given to drug users, resulting in 31 reported reversals.
Peer outreach workers carrying naloxone have performed more than 800 successful overdose reversals.
In northern Vietnam, 43.5% of injecting drug users interviewed had survived an overdose. Drug user groups in Vietnam are working to address this, and have recorded scores of reversals with naloxone and rescue breathing in the past three years.
Thailand: Nongovernmental organizations in Thailand successfully negotiated with suppliers to decrease the price of a vial of naloxone from 240 to 77 Thai Baht.
India: After an overdose response initiative began in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, those trained were able to respond to 95% of recorded overdose cases.
In Australia, about 1 person dies from a heroin overdose each day. Naloxone pilot projects have recently begun, and hope to change this statistic.
After a safer-injection facility opened in Vancouver, Canada, the fatal overdose rate in the surrounding area fell by 35%.
In the US, more than 53,000 people have been trained in overdose response, and more than 10,000 rescues with naloxone have been reported.
Colombia: In Colombia, where heroin use is now increasing, reports of overdose are common though naloxone is not yet available for peer distribution.
In 2011-12 in Scotland, 715 take-home naloxone kits were issued to prisoners at risk of opioid overdose upon their release from prison.
Tanzania: In a survey of people who inject drugs in Tanzania, one third reported experiencing an overdose in the previous twelve months.