Opioids and naloxone
Opioid drugs include heroin and pharmaceutical medications (e.g. oxycontin; fentanyl). In Australia, 70% of opioid overdose deaths are related to pharmaceutical opioids. One Australian dies every four hours from drug overdose (Penington 2022).
Naloxone is a medication which has been used by hospital medical staff and paramedics for over 40 years. Naloxone reverses the effects of opioid overdose, takes a few minutes to work and can help an overdosed person to breathe normally.
Naloxone can be prescribed by a doctor, purchased over-the-counter from a pharmacy or is available for free from services participating in the Mental Health Commission's WA Naloxone Program (WANP) and from services participating in the Commonwealth Take-Home Naloxone (THN) Program.
The THN Pilot ended on 30 June 2022. The successful THN Pilot led to a Federal Government commitment of $19.6 million for the first four years and $4.2 million ongoing, to fund a national THN Program in all Australian states and territories. From 1 July 2022, THN Program allows for all Australian pharmacies to register to participate and for alternate access sites including alcohol and other drug, mental health, health, prisons, needle and syringe programs, treatment and residential and other services to provide access to free naloxone.
THN and education on how to recognise the signs and symptoms of overdose and how to use naloxone, can be provided to people at risk of overdose, who use opioids or drugs, or who are likely to witness an overdose, including peers, family, friends and workers.
There are a range of naloxone devices available including; ampoules (require injecting equipment to administer intra-muscularly); Prenoxad intra-muscular injection and Nyxoid intra-nasal spray.
Participating site for free take home naloxone access
An extensive list of services and pharmacies who provide free naloxone is available here. This document will be updated fortnightly. To search for a location near you select CTRL and F keys on your keyboard to search by postcode or suburb.
Below are some key services offering free naloxone and education in Western Australia:
- Hepatitis WA, Northbridge - (08) 9227 9800 (Nyxoid intra-nasal spray only)
- 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
- 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 through Next Step Drug and Alcohol Services (for clients of the service only).
- Recognise and respond - signs of an opioid overdose
- For personal stories of overdose and the use of take-home naloxone to save lives visit the Overdose Lifesavers website.
Training and Resources
The Mental Health Commission provides training on recognising and responding to opioid overdose. Upcoming course information is available on the Alcohol and other drug training calendar or contact us at email@example.com or phone (08) 6553 0560 during business hours to discuss your needs.
Training for health services to participate to supply THN to consumers contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-health services are required to hold a Poisons Permit to receive and store naloxone to meet the requirements of the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.
Staff who will supply naloxone need to undertake Mental Health Commission training to meet the requirements of. the Structured Administration Supply Arrangement (SASA) Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.
Training is available in regional and metro areas.
The Mental Health Commission can provide free resources to support workers and people who use opioids such as the Opioid Respond Z-Card, Opioid Harm Reduction Tip Sheet, Recognising and Responding Trainers’ Package and Pharmacists ‘Conversation Starter’ Flyer. For more information about these resources download our resource list and order form or email AODtraining@mhc.wa.gov.au or email@example.com
Does your service wish to participate in WA Naloxone Program or the Commonwealth THN Program?
If your service wishes to participate in WA Naloxone Programs or the Commonwealth THN Program please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 6553 0560 during business hours.
S90 Community Pharmacy and S94 Hospital Pharmacy Portal User Guides are available on the THN webpage under ‘Program Rules and Downloads’.