Benefits and barriers to expanding the availability of take-home naloxone in Australia: A qualitative interview study with service providers
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This is an Author's Original Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy on 30/03/2016 available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/10.3109/09687637.2016.1150964
Aims: To investigate the perspectives and experiences of service providers regarding provision of take-home naloxone to people who use opioids in Victoria, Australia. Methods: Content analysis of qualitative semi-structured interviews with 15 service providers who are either involved with take-home naloxone programs or whose work brings them in contact with people who use opioids. Findings: Statements about take-home naloxone were universally positive. Both direct and indirect benefits of take-home naloxone were described. Alongside potential reductions in opioid overdose-related harms, service providers highlighted the empowering effects of providing people who use opioids with take-home naloxone. No significant risks were described. Service providers supported the expansion of naloxone availability, but also identified several intertwined barriers to doing so. Key among these were costs, current regulations and scheduling, availability of prescribers and stigma related to illicit and injecting drug use. Conclusions: Expanding the availability of naloxone is a key component of strategies to reduce harms associated with opioid overdose. Our article provides Australian evidence of the successful operational implementation of peer-to-peer THN delivery within a range of drug primary health services and needle syringe programs. Further research is required to better understand the implications of and impediments to scale-up of this potentially life-saving public health intervention.
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