Providing take home naloxone needs to be improved to prevent opioid overdose deaths

Nicholas Lintzeris
Med J Aust 2020; 212 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50561
Published online: 20 April 2020

An effective approach can only be achieved by a national strategy for averting opioid‐related deaths

Opioid overdose‐related deaths in Australia have steadily increased over the past 15 years to more than 1000 each year, more deaths than from motor vehicle accidents.1,2 Twenty years ago, most overdoses were in people who injected heroin, but now 70% of deaths involve opioids prescribed by doctors and dispensed by pharmacists.1,2 Our health system must respond to this growing community and public health problem. A number of strategies have been recommended,3 including better education of health professionals and opioid users; hospital opioid stewardship programs; improving access to multidisciplinary services for patients with complex pain or substance use disorders; better coordination of health care with systems such as My Health Record and prescription monitoring programs; and the expansion of take home naloxone (THN) programs.4

  • 1 The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Drug and Alcohol Services, South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, NSW

Competing interests:

I have sat on advisory boards for Mundipharma, Camurus, and Indivior, have received research funding from Camurus, and provided consultancy services for Mundipharma.


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