Take-home naloxone kits: attitudes and likelihood-of-use outcomes from a European survey of potential overdose witnesses

Rebecca McDonald, Sibella Breidahl, Katri Abel-Ollo, Shabana Akhtar, Thomas Clausen, Ed Day, Mike Kelleher, Andrew McAuley, Helle Petersen, Martin Sefranek, Henrik Thiesen, John Strang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Injectable naloxone is already provided as take-home naloxone (THN), and new concentrated intranasal naloxone is now being introduced in Europe. Despite evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of THN, little is known about the attitudes of key target populations: people who use opioids (PWUO), family/friends, and staff. We examined the acceptability of different naloxone devices (ampoule, prefilled syringe, and concentrated nasal spray) across 5 European countries. Objectives: The aim of this study was to compare THN target groups (PWUO vs. family/friends vs. staff) in their past rates of witnessed overdose and THN administration (as indicators of future use), current THN device preference, and THN carriage on the day of survey. Method: Cross-sectional survey of respondents (age ≥18) in addiction treatment, harm reduction, and recovery services in Denmark, England, Estonia, Norway, and Scotland. A purpose-developed questionnaire (59 items) was administered in the local language electronically or in a pen-and-paper format. Results: Among n = 725 participants, 458 were PWUO (63.2%), 214 staff (29.5%), and 53 (7.3%) family members. The groups differed significantly in their likelihood-of-future THN use (p < 0.001): PWUO had the highest rate of previously witnessing overdoses (352; 77.7%), and staff members reported the highest past naloxone use (62; 30.1%). Across all groups, most respondents (503; 72.4%) perceived the nasal spray device to be the easiest to use. Most reported willingness to use the spray in an overdose emergency (508; 73.5%), followed by the prefilled syringe (457; 66.2%) and ampoules (64; 38.2%). Average THN carriage was 18.6%, ranging from 17.4% (PWUO) to 29.6% (family members). Conclusion: Respondents considered the concentrated naloxone nasal spray the easiest device to use. Still, most expressed willingness to use the nasal spray as well as the prefilled syringe in an overdose emergency. Carriage rates were generally low, with fewer than 1 in 5 respondents carrying their THN kit on the day of the survey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-225
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean addiction research
Issue number3
Early online date3 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Carriage
  • Heroin
  • Naloxone
  • Nasal
  • Opiates
  • Opioids
  • Overdose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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