In commemoration of Overdose Awareness Day, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) put together a video that highlights the benefits and cost-effectiveness of naloxone programmes around the world.
However, this film is not simply about commemorating those who have passed, nor is it about shaming or blaming. It highlights the fact that deaths due to overdose are preventable using cheap and effective methods that do not stigmatise or criminalise people who use drugs.
This video focuses on a pragmatic harm reduction tool that can prevent lethal overdoses: naloxone distribution. Naloxone has been shown to be useful in the reversal of central nervous system depression induced by overdoses of opioid drugs such as heroin. This means that if you provide access to this medicine for injecting drug users and train them how to use it, you can prevent a significant proportion of otherwise non-preventable deaths in this community. So why are there so few cities where Naloxone distribution and overdose prevention trainings are readily available to drug users? There are many legal and political barriers to the use of Naloxone, for example, in many countries it is a prescription drug only to be used by doctors or emergency staff. We know that Naloxone has no known abuse potential, there is no way you can get high from Naloxone – on the other hand it can prevent lives. We hope this film will convince and mobilise professionals, activists and politicians to put an end to existing prejudices and remove barriers from Naloxone distribution.