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The Naloxone Demonstration Project was established by the Health Service Executive (HSE) in 2015 to test the feasibility of making Naloxone available for use by opioid users in order to prevent death from overdose.
Four locations were selected for the Demonstration Project – Dublin, Waterford/South East, Limerick and Cork.
A total of 95 prescriptions of Naloxone were issued during the Demonstration Project. The majority (67 per cent) of these were issued in Dublin and the remainder (33 per cent) were issued in Limerick. Six GPs in total were involved in the medical assessment and prescribing of these prescriptions3 .
During the time of the Demonstration there were no prescriptions issued from the other two Demonstration locations, Waterford and Cork.
Prescriptions in Waterford commenced subsequently. During the course of the Demonstration Project there were five administrations of Naloxone and potentially fatal overdoses were prevented for the five males involved. Four of the Naloxone administrations were administered by front line workers and one was administered peer to peer.
All had participated in the Naloxone training delivered during the Demonstration Project. In each of the incidents the Naloxone was administered to a person other than to whom it had been prescribed.
This suggests that the availability of and easy access to Naloxone was crucial to the successful reversal of overdose.
In two instances more than one dose of Naloxone was administered from the five dose syringe. This was judged necessary during the wait for the ambulance to arrive and deemed to work well.
The Chief Pharmacist of Addiction Services with the HSE Mr Denis O’Driscoll was authorised to lead and manage the Demonstration Project.
“To date we have trained over 600 people in the use of Naloxone and we look forward to rolling out more training in 2107 as we work to expand the service,” according to Mr O’Driscoll.
“The key recommendations of the report launched show a number of important points to be considered. The HSE in conjunction with our partners is working to implement the six key recommendations to ensure the ongoing development of the naloxone programme.”
The report was launched in Filmbase in Temple Bar, Dublin, to coincide with International Overdose Awareness Day.