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  • International Overdose Awareness 2015

    Posted on August 31st, 2015 TimB No comments

    These two videos are of interviews with individuals who have been affected by Drug Overdose . The interviews are on the theme of Rethink and Remember



  • Request for Expressions of Interest: to carry out an Evaluation of the HSE Naloxone Demonstration Project

    Posted on April 2nd, 2015 TimB No comments

    The HSE has a stated commitment to take actions which focus on reducing the number of drug-related deaths and near-fatal drug poisonings. The HSE is currently finalising a Naloxone Demonstration Project, the purpose of which is to have Naloxone available for use by opioid users in order to prevent overdose. This project meets one of the key actions contained in the Primary Care Division Operational Plan 2015, “Implement a Naloxone Demonstration Project to assess and evaluate its suitability and impact (in line with NDS Action 40).”

    The demonstration project involves 600 patients receiving take-home Naloxone within the current legislative framework.  The product (Prenoxad 1mg/ml injection) is a licensed injectable administered via the parenteral route and formulated in a specific overdose pack. This allows for lay administration. The product is currently available inWales and England.

    A key element of the demonstration project is the provision of training for drug users and those close to them, on the use of Naloxone and on recognising and dealing with overdose events.


  • Drug-related deaths and deaths among drug users in Ireland

    Posted on December 17th, 2014 TimB No comments

    In the nine-year period 2004–2012 a total of 5,289 deaths by drug poisoning and deaths among drug users met the criteria for inclusion in the NDRDI database.

    • Of these deaths, 3,112 were due to poisoning and 2,177 were deaths among drug users (non-poisoning) (Table 1).
    • There were 633 deaths in 2012, compared to 645 in 2011. Despite this decrease the overall trend for the reporting period is upwards (Table 1). The 2012 figure is likely to be revised upwards when new data become available.
    • Deaths due to polydrug use have increased by 60% over the reporting period from 118 in 2004 to 189 in 2012 (Figure 3).



  • Best Practice for Overdose Prevention on the release from Prison

    Posted on October 10th, 2014 TimB No comments

    This ‘Fact Sheet’ reports on good practice models in four European Union (EU) countries – Scotland, Denmark, Italy and Spain (more specifically, the Catalonia region) – on overdose prevention and management programmes upon release from prison. The main findings are concluded with recommendations made regarding their relevance to the five target countries of the project: Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

    Information gathered includes programme descriptions; evidence of effectiveness; functioning; and involvement of people who use drugs. The methodology for collection and documentation of good practices is based on reports and guidance from leading organizations in the field such as the World Health Organization, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
    (EMCDDA) etc. This fact sheet is of particular relevance to prison staff, health care professionals and people who use drugs.


  • Tranquillisers and methadone send drug-related deaths soaring by 30%

    Posted on November 11th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Drug-related deaths have soared by almost 30%, with a surge in fatalities involving tranquillisers and methadone, figures show.

    Unpublished data shows there were 220 drug poisonings in 2011, compared to 173 in 2010. It is the highest yearly figure since an official database was established in 2004.

    The sudden increase in fatalities is being associated with poly-drug use (more than one drug at a time), as well as a hike in deaths involving methadone, the legal substitute for heroin, and prescription tranquillisers known as benzodiazepines.

    The National Drug-Related Death Index (NDRDI), compiled by the Health Research Board, reports a “substantial increase” in poisonings compared to 2010. It shows:

    - Methadone was implic-ated (either on its own or with another drug) in 113 (56%) of the 220 deaths. The 113 deaths compared to 60 such cases in 2010 (a rise of 88%);

    - Diazepam (the most popular benzodiazepine) was implicated in 109 (50%) deaths, compared to 54 deaths in 2010 (a rise of 102%);

    - Cocaine-related deaths stabilised at 23, compared to 21 in 2010;

    - Heroin-related deaths fell from 70 in 2010 to 61 in 2011.

    The index comprises all deaths owing to poisonings, including both illicit drugs and legal substances such as alcohol and prescription medication. It does not include non-poisoning deaths, such as trauma (including suicides) or medical causes (such as heart problems and infections).

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Eliza Wheeler talks about the Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) Project

    Posted on October 30th, 2013 TimB No comments

    The DOPE Project conducts regular naloxone trainings at syringe exchanges and drop-in programs in San Francisco.

    For more information http://harmreduction.org/our-work/overdose-prevention/bay-area-dope/

  • The National Drug-related Deaths Database (Scotland) Report 2011

    Posted on May 1st, 2013 TimB No comments

    In 2011, there were 438 cases identified as eligible for inclusion in the NDRDD cohort (an increase from 365 in 2010).

    1. Over three quarters (78.3%) were males, over half (53.4%) had lived in the most deprived areas in Scotland and the 35-44 years age group accounted for the highest proportion of deaths (38.1%)
    2. Over two fifths (44.5%) of the cohort, where known, were a parent or parental figure. A total of 331 children lost a parent or parental figure to a drug-related death.
    3. Where known, nearly two thirds (63%) had a history of intravenous (IV) drug use, which is a lower proportion than in 2010 (70.8%). Over three quarters (77.4%) of the 2011 cohort had a medical condition recorded in the 6 months prior to death. IV drug users had a higher prevalence of medical conditions compared to those who were not known to have been an IV drug user.
    4. The prevalence of Hepatitis C amongst the drug-related deaths cohort has steadily increased over the period 2009-2011.
    5. Where known, almost two thirds of individuals (64.5%) had been in contact with a drug treatment service at some point in their lives.
    6. Where known, in the 6 months prior to death, one third (34.3%) had been released from police custody and almost one fifth (18.1%) had been released from prison.
    7. This year’s report includes data on drugs ‘present’ in the body and drugs ‘implicated’ in the death. The presence of a drug in toxicology of the deceased individual does not necessarily mean that the drug was implicated in (contributed to) the death.
    8. The drug most frequently found to be present in the body at death was diazepam (81.4%) followed by methadone (57.3%), heroin/morphine (51.5%), anti-depressants (37.1%) and alcohol (37.1%). In 97% of cases there was more than one drug present. Opioids (methadone, heroin, morphine or buprenorphine) were present in 87.2% of cases.
    9. The drug most frequently implicated in the death was methadone (53.4%), followed by heroin/morphine (38.6%), diazepam (23.1%) and alcohol (21.2%). More than one drug was implicated in the death in the majority of cases (68.9%).
    10. In relation to drugs present, the proportion of deaths with heroin/morphine and alcohol has decreased over the period 2009-2011, while the proportion of deaths with methadone, diazepam and anti-depressants has increased over this period.
    11. In 2011, the majority of individuals (150, 60.7%) with methadone found in their toxicology were not in receipt of a methadone prescription at the time of death.
    12. Where toxicology information was known, a higher proportion of females (72.3%) had methadone present compared with males (53.1%). This pattern is similar to 2010, (56.6% and 41.8% for females and males respectively), although the gap between females and males has grown in 2011.
    13. Where known, almost three quarters (73.8%) of individuals in the 2011 NDRDD cohort were not currently in receipt of a prescribed substitute drug.

    Download Report

  • Annual deaths related to heroin and morphine continue to drop in the UK

    Posted on March 8th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Annual deaths related to heroin and morphine are continuing to drop significantly, falling from 41 per cent of total drug-related deaths in the UK in 2010 to 32 per cent in 2011. Meanwhile, deaths from ‘legal highs’ – some of which have now been banned – remained steady following a large increase in the previous year.

    In total, UK drug-related deaths fell by seven per cent from 1,883 in 2010 to 1,757 in 2011, as revealed today (28 February) in the National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (np-SAD) 2012 report. This continues a two-year downward trend that saw deaths fall by 14 per cent from 2009 to 2010.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Deaths ‘not due to super-strength heroin’ in Cork

    Posted on January 18th, 2013 TimB No comments

    Fears that super-strength heroin contributed to the deaths of two men in Cork were ruled out yesterday.

    Cork City Coroner’s Court heard that Gary O’Sullivan, aged 30, and Gavin Thompson, aged 26, who died within hours of each other on Oct 4, died from polydrug use, in association with the ingestion of heroin and alcohol.

    Their deaths triggered a major public health alert when medics feared a batch of super-concentrated heroin may have been available on Cork’s streets.

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • Risk Factors for Nonfatal Overdose at Seattle-Area Syringe Exchanges

    Posted on October 24th, 2012 TimB No comments

    Opioid-involved overdose deaths are on the rise, both nationwide and in the state of Washington. In a survey of 443 participants at syringe exchanges in Seattle,Washington, 16% had overdosed in the last year. Several factors were significantly associated in bivariate analysis: lack of permanent housing; incarceration of five or more days in the past year; gender of sex partners; sharing of syringes and other injection paraphernalia; use of speedballs (cocaine and heroin together), goofballs(methamphetamine and heroin together), buprenorphine; injection use of crack cocaine and sedatives; and use of opioids with sedatives.

    Adjusting for other variables in multivariate logistic regression analyses, only recent incarceration and sharing of injection materials were still significantly associated with overdose. Correctional facilities, syringe exchange programs, and other agencies serving opioid injectors.


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