Take-home naloxone — its role in preventing opioid-related deaths in Europe
Most recent figures show that more than 9500 lives were lost to drug overdoses in the EU, Norway and Turkey, and that the vast majority of these deaths were related to opioids. Reducing drug-related deaths thus remains a major challenge for European public health policies. As recommended in 2014 WHO guidelines on community management of opioid overdose, the availability of naloxone, an effective opioid antagonist medication, is increasing in Europe. Potential bystanders of opioid overdose, such as people who use opioids and their family members are trained on how to recognise and respond to opioid overdose and are equipped with the medication for use in emergencies. While barriers to the availability of naloxone are being removed in Canada and the United States, there are still obstacles to the wide distribution of the medication in most European countries.
Aim: To present the DRD situation, trends and responses in Europe, describe the role, availability and future perspectives of take-home naloxone (THN) programmes in Europe