First Naloxone Kits Issued to Drug Abusers

10/2/2013 1:40 PM
Category: Health

The first Estonian injecting drug users received a supply of naloxone, a standard part of emergency medics' kits that can be used as an antidote for opiate overdoses.

The six drug abusers, from Jõhvi, received the supplies after undergoing training on how to administer naloxone.

Four of the six said they had been in a situation where a friend had overdosed and required emergency intervention, Postimees reported, but had not possessed knowledge on how to assist them.

Several people said that they knew the basics of artificial respiration but had not received thorough training. Estonia's program is unusual as elsewhere naloxone is given to relatives, not so much the drug abusers themselves.

"The trainees include both active users and recovered addicts who have the risk of relapse," said the head of the Institute of Health Development's infectious diseases and drug abuse prevention department, Aljona Kurbatova.

Naloxone is distributed at pharmacies and needle exchange sites to people who have a training certificate. It is also dispensed by doctors and nurses.

According to data from the spring, Estonia had Europe's highest drug-related mortality rate, with the 150 deaths per million being nearly double the incidence in second-place Norway. Drug deaths also topped road accidents as a cause of death.


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