Reducing drug-related deaths in Europe: a systemic perspective with focus on take-home naloxone
Drawing on insights gained from research on risk and protective factors, the prevention of overdose deaths can systemically be addressed at three levels: Firstly, as a basis for a successful response, broader public health approaches such as provision of outreach and low-threshold services and enabling environments can reduce barriers to accessing health and drugs services and thus reduce vulnerability to overdose, while empowering drug users to protect themselves may provide an environment in which overdoses are less likely. ; second, interventions geared towards prevention of overdoses (such as retention in effective drug treatment, systematic overdose risk assessments); and third, interventions such as take home naloxone (THN) programmes which aim to reduce morbidity and fatal outcomes when an overdose has happened. In recent years, several national and local programmes have scaled up the provision of naloxone to potential bystanders, often focusing on priority groups of opioids users at particularly high risk of overdose. An overview of the current landscape of THN programmes in Europe will be given.