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Drug Alcohol Rev. 2018 May;37(4):480-486. doi: 10.1111/dar.12551. Epub 2017 Apr 20.

Expanding access to naloxone for family members: The Massachusetts experience.

Author information

1
Medicine and Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, USA.
2
Data Coordinating Center, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, USA.
3
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Boston, USA.

Abstract

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program provides overdose education and naloxone rescue kits to people at risk for overdose and bystanders, including family members. Using Massachusetts Department of Public Health data, the aims are to: (i) describe characteristics of family members who receive naloxone; (ii) identify where family members obtain naloxone; and (iii) describe characteristics of rescues by family members.

DESIGN AND METHODS:

We conducted a retrospective review using program enrollee information collected on a standardised form between 2008 and 2015. We calculated descriptive statistics, including demographics, current substance use, enrolment location, history of witnessed overdoses and rescue attempt characteristics. We conducted a stratified analysis comparing family members who used drugs with those who did not.

RESULTS:

Family members were 27% of total program enrollees (n = 10 883/40 801). Family members who reported substance use (n = 4679) were 35.6 years (mean), 50.6% female, 76.3% non-Hispanic white, 75.6% had witnessed an overdose, and they obtained naloxone most frequently at HIV prevention programs. Family members who did not report substance use (n = 6148) were 49.2 years (mean), 73.8% female, 87.9% non-Hispanic white, 35.3% had witnessed an overdose, and they obtained naloxone most frequently at community meetings. Family members were responsible for 20% (n = 860/4373) of the total rescue attempts.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

The Massachusetts experience demonstrates that family members can be active participants in responding to the overdose epidemic by rescuing family members and others. Targeted intervention strategies for families should be included in efforts to expand overdose education and naloxone in Massachusetts.

KEYWORDS:

drug overdose; family; naloxone

PMID:
28429378
DOI:
10.1111/dar.12551
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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