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The Advisory Council of the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has reviewed the evidence on the provision and availability of naloxone in the UK, a medicine which can temporarily reverse the effects of opioids and is used as an emergency treatment for people who overdose on these drugs. The findings of this review, and recommendations to optimise the use of naloxone are presented in this report.

The ACMD has made the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: To improve the quality of data/information on take-home naloxone, particularly in England. Local Authority commissioners to include completion of National Drug Treatment Monitoring System questions, including on naloxone, within their service specifications and as a condition of their contracts with drug treatment providers.
  • Recommendation 2: To explore evidence-based ways in which the carriage of naloxone can be increased by those at risk of overdose and their families. This can be done using formal research studies as well as methodologically robust evaluations of take-home naloxone programmes.

    To initiate a formal UK government funded call for research on the carriage and availability of naloxone.

  • Recommendation 3: Good examples of partnership working should be used to encourage organisations, in those areas in the UK which do not currently have extensive peer-to-peer take-home naloxone programmes, to establish them as soon as possible.
  • Recommendation 4: The prison service in each of the four nations should ensure complete coverage of take-home naloxone by those people who leave prisons at all times (with specific emphasis on weekend departures).
  • Recommendation 5: There should be additional national support and training for police in the holding and administration of take-home naloxone. This should include guidance on encouraging service users to carry intranasal or intramuscular naloxone. Where available, police services should register to gain required exemptions to supply take-home naloxone.
  • Recommendation 6: Acute trusts (including emergency departments), mental health trusts and ambulance services should issue take-home naloxone and associated training to those at risk of opioid overdose. Relevant National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance should be updated to include appropriate recommendations on naloxone provision.
  • Recommendation 7: That there should be contractual arrangements across the UK which allow community pharmacies to issue take-home naloxone and an associated brief intervention on opioid overdose management.

To read the full review and recommendations please follow the link below.


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