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Home > Association of take-home naloxone and opioid overdose reversals performed by patients in an opioid treatment program.

Katzman, Joanna G and Takeda, Mikiko Y and Greenberg, Nina and Moya Balasch, Monica and Alchbli, Amal and Katzman, William G and Salvador, Julie G and Bhatt, Snehal R (2020) Association of take-home naloxone and opioid overdose reversals performed by patients in an opioid treatment program. JAMA Network Open , 3 , (2 e200117) , e200117. 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.0117.

URL: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/f...

Importance: The US opioid crisis was deemed a public health emergency in 2017. More than 130 individuals in the US die daily as a result of unintentional opioid overdose deaths.

Objective: To measure use of take-home naloxone for overdose reversals performed by study participants with opioid use disorder receiving treatment at an opioid treatment program.

Design, Setting, and Participants: In a year-long cohort study, between April 4, 2016, and May 16, 2017, 395 study participants enrolled at the University of New Mexico Addiction and Substance Abuse Opioid Treatment Program, an outpatient clinic treating substance use disorders. Inclusion criteria included all patients enrolled at University of New Mexico Addiction and Substance Abuse Opioid Treatment Program during the study enrollment period; positive history of opioid use disorder treated with methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone; and age 18 years or older. Exclusion criteria included allergy to naloxone and age younger than 18 years. The study closed 1 year after enrollment, on May 17, 2018. Data analysis was performed from May 2018 to July 2019.

Exposure: Two doses of take-home naloxone combined with opioid overdose education were provided to study participants.

Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was to measure the association of take-home naloxone with overdose reversals performed by patients with opioid use disorder enrolled in an opioid treatment program.

Results: We enrolled 395 study participants (270 female [68.4%]; mean [SD] age, 35.4 [12.6] years; 260 [65.8%] with Hispanic white race/ethnicity) in the 1-year prospective trial. Sixty-eight female participants (25.2% of all female participants) were pregnant at the time of enrollment. Seventy-three of the 395 study participants (18.0%) performed 114 overdose reversals in the community. All community reversals were heroin related. Most study participants (86.8%) stated that the person on whom they performed an overdose reversal was a friend, relative, acquaintance, or significant other. In the year before enrollment, only 18 study participants (4.5%) had been prescribed naloxone.

Conclusions and Relevance: Take-home naloxone as part of overdose education and naloxone distribution provided to patients in an opioid treatment program may be associated with a strategic targeted harm reduction response for reversing opioid overdose-related deaths. Policy makers may consider regulations to mandate overdose education and naloxone distribution in opioid treatment programs.


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