Engagement in a National Naloxone Programme among people who inject drugs

Andrew McAuley, Alison Munro, Sheila M. Bird, Sharon J. Hutchinson, David Goldberg, Avril Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Availability of the opioid antagonist naloxone for lay administration has grown substantially since first proposed in 1996. Gaps remain, though, in our understanding of how people who inject drugs (PWID) engage with naloxone programmes over time.
Aims: This paper aimed to address three specific evidence gaps: the extent of naloxone supply to PWID; supply-source (community or prisons); and the carriage of naloxone among PWID.
Materials and methods: Analysis of Scotland’s Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) responses in 2011–2012 and 2013–2014 was undertaken with a specific focus on the extent of Scotland’s naloxone supply to PWID; including by source (community or prisons); and on the carriage of naloxone. Differences in responses between the two surveys were measured using Chi-square tests together with 95% confidence intervals for rate-differences over time.
Results: The proportion of NESI participants who reported that they had been prescribed naloxone within the last year increased significantly from 8% (175/2146; 95% CI: 7–9%) in 2011–2012 to 32% (745/2331; 95% CI: 30% to 34%) in 2013–2014. In contrast, the proportion of NESI participants who carried naloxone with them on the day they were interviewed decreased significantly from 16% (27/169; 95% CI: 10% to 22%) in 2011–2012 to 5% (39/741; 95% CI: 4% to 7%) in 2013–2014.
Conclusions: The supply of naloxone to PWID has increased significantly since the introduction of a National Naloxone Programme in Scotland in January 2011. In contrast, naloxone carriage is low and decreased between the two NESI surveys; this area requires further investigation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-240
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Early online date3 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Naxololne
  • opioid
  • overdose
  • PWID
  • prison
  • NESI)


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