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Home > Evaluation of the HSE naloxone demonstration project.

Clarke, Ann and Eustace, Anne (2016) Evaluation of the HSE naloxone demonstration project. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

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Naloxone is a medicine recommended by the World Health Organisation for treatment in opioid overdose cases. It acts by reversing, within minutes, the effects of opioid overdose. Its efficacy has been proven internationally.

The Naloxone Demonstration Project was established by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2015 to test the feasibility of making Naloxone available for use by opioid users in order to prevent death from overdose. The Demonstration Project falls under Action 40 of the National Drugs Strategy (2009-2016) which aims to tackle the harm caused by misuse of drugs. The Naloxone Demonstration Project fits within all four tiers of service provision in the National Drug Rehabilitation Implementation Committee’s (NDRIC) framework and, in lay administration it has potential to be particularly useful in tiers one and two.

Ireland has one of the highest drug overdose rates in Europe. Opioids alone accounted for 7% of all ‘poisoning deaths’ in 20121 and opioid related deaths (ORDs) made up of single drug and poly-drug frequency was 220 (263 in 2011). Forty-two percent of people who died deaths where heroin (injecting or smoking) was implicated were not alone at the time they took the drug. This suggests that there may have been an opportunity to prevent these deaths through the administration of Naloxone.

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