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Hopes raised for OTC naloxone

Naloxone is an antidote used to reverse the effects of opioid drugs like heroin, morphine and methadone, if someone overdoses.

The project, launched in late May, involves 600 opiate users receiving take-home naloxone on prescription. The project is currently being evaluated, with a final report expected by the end of the year.

In an interview with the Medical Independent (MI) Dr Denis O’Driscoll, Chief Pharmacist, HSE Addiction Services, said after some initial problems, the project is working more smoothly now.

Dr O’Driscoll told MI that he is hoping that the evaluation will look at the current restrictions around the availability of naloxone.

“If you look across Europe, it is much more widely available than here. Best practice would be to make it more widely available,” he maintained.

“The fact that it is a prescription-only product makes it very difficult at the moment. I am hoping the evaluation will pick up on that. We need to then look to get that changed within the legislation.”

According to the latest figures available, a total of 350 people died in 2012 as a result of the toxic effects of one or more drugs.

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