The extent of and factors associated with self-reported overdose and self-reported receipt of naloxone among people who inject drugs (PWID) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Charlotte O'Halloran*, Katelyn Cullen, Jaquelyn Njoroge, Lucy Jessop, Josie Smith, Vivian Hope, Fortune Ncube

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background Overdose is a major cause of death among PWID, and for opioid overdoses naloxone administration can reduce harm. However, globally there is limited national level data on the extent of non-fatal overdose and naloxone uptake. The first national level data on the extent of self-reported overdose and self-reported receipt of naloxone among UK PWID, providing a baseline to monitor the impact of the recent policy change regarding naloxone availability, is presented. Methods Data on self-reported overdose and receipt of naloxone during the preceding year for 2013–2014 from a national survey of PWID was analysed. Participants who reported injecting during the preceding year were included. Results Participants (3850) were predominantly male (75%); mean age was 36 years. The most commonly injected drugs were: heroin (91%), crack (45%) and amphetamine (29%). 15% (591) reported overdosing during the preceding year. There were no differences in the proportion reporting overdose by age or gender, but overdose was more common among those who: injected multiple drugs; recently ceased addiction treatment; injected with used needles/syringes; ever had transactional sex; had used a sexual health clinic or emergency department and lived in Wales or Northern Ireland. Among those reporting an overdose during the preceding year, a third reported two to four overdoses and 7.5% five or more overdoses; half reported receiving naloxone. Those reporting naloxone receipt in the preceding year were more likely to: live in Wales or Northern Ireland; ever received used needles/syringes; ever been imprisoned; and less likely to have injected two drug types. Conclusion These data provide a baseline for monitoring the impact of the 2015 UK policy change to improve take-home naloxone access. Interventions tackling overdose should promote naloxone awareness and access, and target those who; are poly-drug injectors, have ceased treatment, share needles/syringes and whose drug use links to sexual activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume46
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was core funded by Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017

Keywords

  • Harm reduction
  • Heroin
  • Naloxone
  • Overdose
  • People who inject drugs
  • United Kingdom

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