What difference does it make? Assessing the impact of take-home naloxone scale up internationally

First published: 13 March 2019 | Last updated: 28 March 2019


Dr Andrew McAuley

Principal Scientist; Senior Research Fellow

Principal Scientist, Health Protection Scotland

Senior Research Fellow, Glasgow Caledonian University

Andrew has worked locally and nationally in the addictions field since 2005. He is currently Principal Scientist at Health Protection Scotland where he has a lead role for infections involving people who inject drugs (PWID). At Glasgow Caledonian University, Andrew manages the Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiate (NESI) a biennial survey which monitors rates of blood-borne virus, risk behaviours and service engagement among PWID. His main research interests are harms related to injecting drug use and evaluation of interventions aimed at reducing risk. In recognition of his contribution to the field, Andrew was recently awarded the Fred Yates prize for 2018 by the Society for the Study of Addiction.

Internationally, opioid-related overdose is a major cause of premature mortality. Since it was first conceptualised in the 1990s, supply of the opioid antagonist Naloxone for peer administration (‘Take-Home Naloxone’) to prevent drug-related deaths has increased markedly around the world. In some areas, community based programmes have grown into national initiatives supported and resourced by central governments. However, despite this increase in adoption and reach, opioid-related deaths also continue to increase and are at epidemic levels in North America, the UK and parts of Europe. This has led some critics to question the impact of Take-Home Naloxone as a public health intervention.

This presentation aims to address the criticisms levelled at Take-Home Naloxone by some commentators by reviewing the latest evidence on adoption, reach and impact from countries which have invested heavily in this approach and to determine ‘what difference does it make’? In addition, the presentation will consider ways in which late adopting countries can provide a more nuanced evaluation approach to their take-home naloxone initiatives to mitigate similar criticisms being made in future.




Download the presentation

Download the full presentation here

Listen to the presentation audio

Audio of this presentation is available on Soundcloud below:

Alternatively, please visit the Sound Cloud website to listen

Dr Andrew McAuley