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.


Don’t hang about and don’t be stingy with naloxone… PHE’s message to local authorities

Great presentation from Kevin Jaffray at DDN’s national service user involvement conference in February setting out the need for a national take-home naloxone programme, and why drug users and former drug users should be advocating for wider access to naloxone in their local areas.

Followed by Rosanna O’Connor from Public Health England saying that their message to local authorities is “don’t hang about, and don’t be stingy” when it comes to introducing take-home naloxone plans.