Naloxone-Fast Facts for workers
Naloxone is used to save lives by reversing the effects of opioid overdose. It is hoped that in Victoria it will be more widely available than it now is.
Narcan (brand name)
In Victoria, Naloxone is largely administered by paramedics and doctors via injection when someone has overdosed on opioid drugs (heroin, methadone, oxycontin). There is good evidence around the world that giving users, their families, friends and other professionals capacity to administer naloxone saves lives. In Victoria there is strong advocacy to allow wider access to naloxone.
Naloxone reverses the effects of opiates such as heroin by replacing opioids on the brains receptors. In other words, in overdose situations it allows people to wake up and breath. It has no effect if no opiates are in a person’s system. It also has no effect on other drugs such as benzos, alcohol or ice.
Naloxone does not cause overdose (it reverses overdose) but it is important to understand that Naloxone is only active in the body for about 1-2 hours. Risk of overdose from opioids is still present after this time especially if a person uses again after waking.
SOME HARM REDUCTION STRATEGIES
Encourage a young person to: -
- Follow directions from prescribing doctor – especially when commencing treatment
- Avoid injecting, especially when diverted from oral administration
- About understanding the risks involved in mixing other drugs and alcohol, including prescription medication.
- Store safely, especially out of reach from children