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Addiction. 1996 Mar;91(3):413-7.

Overdose among heroin users in Sydney, Australia: II. responses to overdose.

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National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia.


A sample of 329 heroin users were interviewed about their experiences at other peoples' heroin overdoses. The overwhelming majority (86%) had witnessed a heroin overdose, on a median of six occasions. Heroin users were reluctant to seek medical attention, with an ambulance being called on only half (56%) of the most recent overdose occasions. At only 17% of most recent overdoses was calling an ambulance the first action taken. Males reported taking significantly longer than females to call an ambulance. Nearly half (44%) of subjects reported that there were factors that had delayed or stopped them seeking medical assistance, the most common impediment being a fear of police involvement. The importance of interventions to encourage help-seeking at overdoses are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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