Meeting title: 'Take home naloxone to reduce fatalities: scaling up a participatory intervention across Europe'
Drug overdose continues to be the main cause of death among problem drug users and heroin or its metabolites are present in the majority of reported fatal overdoses, often in combination with other substances such as alcohol or benzodiazepines.
Naloxone is a lifesaving overdose reversal drug that rapidly counteracts the effects of opioids and is currently the standard treatment for overdose. As opioid antagonist medication used worldwide in emergency medicine to reverse respiratory depression caused by opioid overdose, it is listed by the World Health Organization as an essential medicine.
In Europe, overdose prevention programmes that include the distribution of naloxone date back to the 1990s. They have in recent years obtained more attention in a number of countries and a number of new initiatives as well as a RCT have started. Take-home naloxone (THN) programmes combine overdose prevention education and first aid training for drug users, their family members or peers with the distribution of the antagonist naloxone.
The main objectives of this event are:
- to provide an overview of the rationale and evidence for THN as part of a comprehensive response to reduce opioid overdose deaths;
- to provide a platform for knowledge exchange about the implementation of THN interventions and their scaling up in practice;
- to provide an opportunity for networking and to meet renowned experts in the field.