Take-home naloxone from October 2015

Naloxone, which can be effective in reversing heroin overdoses, is, from the 1 October 2015, more readily available for those that need it. Although naloxone will remain a prescription only medicine, the legislative change will crucially mean people working in drug treatment services are able to supply the drug, without a prescription, to anyone needing it to stop a heroin overdose. In addition to previous legislation, from 1 October 2015:

Naloxone can be supplied by a drug treatment service to any individual needing it for saving a life in an emergency.

So it can be supplied without prescription to:

  • someone who is using or has previously used opiates (illicit or prescribed) and is at potential risk of overdose
  • a carer, family member or friend liable to be on hand in case of overdose
  • a named individual in a hostel (or other facility where drug users gather and might be at risk of overdose), which could be
  • a manager or other staff

There is no need for the usual Prescription Only Medicine requirements, just a requirement that the supply is suitably recorded.

Public Health England has previously issued advice for commissioners of services on how naloxone can be supplied locally and further information about the legislation change can be found here.