Preventing opioid overdose
Opioids include drugs such as heroin and medicines (pharmaceutical opioids) such as oxycontin and fentanyl. They are a significant contributor to death and disability in Australia, with as many as three people per day dying from an opioid overdose in 2018.
While people typically think about heroin as being the main cause of opioid overdose, pharmaceutical opioids now contribute to around 70% of opioid overdose deaths in Australia.
A Take-Home Naloxone Pilot will run from 1 December 2019 to 30 June 2022, with funding from the Australian Government. Under the pilot, naloxone will be available free to people who may either experience, or witness an opioid overdose. No prescription is required.
Naloxone is a medication that has been used by hospitals and paramedics for over 40 years. Naloxone reverses opioid overdose quickly and cannot be used for other purposes such as intoxication.
During the Take-Home Naloxone Pilot (to 28 February 2021) naloxone can be accessed for free from the organisations below. Each of these services also provides free education about how to respond to overdose and use naloxone. They may not have the same forms of naloxone on site, so it is best to check with them first.
- Hepatitis WA, Northbridge - (08) 9227 9800
- Peer Based Harm Reduction WA, Perth - (08) 9325 8387, and Bunbury - (08) 97916699
- St Patrick’s Community Support Crossroads Alcohol and Drug Outreach Team, Fremantle (includes roaming Fremantle Parks, Wellington Square Park Perth and The RISE Maylands) –(08) 9430 4159
- WAAC (formerly WA AIDS Council), mobile van and fixed sites in West Perth and Fremantle – 0417 093 537
- Community Alcohol and Drug Services in the metropolitan area (you must be a client of the service)
Other services also provide access to naloxone including some community pharmacies and some regional services. Download the full list of services here.
For personal stories of overdose and the use of take-home naloxone to save lives visit the Overdose Lifesavers website.
The evaluation of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidised take home Naloxone Pilot program is is available for download here.