Opioids include drugs such as heroin and 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.
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.
Naloxone can be prescribed by a doctor, purchased over-the-counter from a pharmacy or is available for free from services participating in the Take-Home Naloxone Pilot.
The Take Home Naloxone Pilot will run from 1 December 2019 to 28 February 2021, with funding from the Australian Government. Under the Take-Home Naloxone Pilot, naloxone can be accessed by people at risk of overdose, or likely to witness an overdose free-of-charge 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
- 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 (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.
- Information for people at risk of an overdose, or likely to witness an overdose about naloxone and where it can be obtained under Pilot can be found here or download this resource
- More information about responding to overdose and administering naloxone
- More information about the Take-Home Naloxone Pilot
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 through the AODtraining@MHC calendar. Contact us at email@example.com or phone (08) 6553 0560 during business hours to discuss your needs.
Training is also available in regional areas via videoconference and on a limited basis, face-to-face.
The Mental Health Commission also has resources to support workers and people who use opioids such as the Opioid Respond Z-Card, Opioid Harm Reduction Tip Sheet and Recognising and Responding Trainers’ Package. For more information about these resources download our product information form.
Participating in the Pilot
For non-medical community-based organisations interested in providing free take-home naloxone, there are a number steps to getting ready to participate in the Pilot.
- Organisations are required to have a poisons permit which allows them to receive and store naloxone and meet the requirements of the Medicines and Poisons Act 2014.
- Staff involved in supplying naloxone must undertake training by the Mental Health Commission. Participants of this training will be assessed to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge to provide naloxone brief education and supply naloxone.
For more information about how your organisation can participate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 6553 0560 during business hours.
Medical practitioners, hospitals and pharmacists who are interested in participating in the Take-Home Naloxone Pilot can contact us email@example.com or phone (08) 6553 0560 during business hours.