Australia’s first overdose management program that provides naloxone on prescription to potential overdose victims has been developed and will be implemented in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).  This important public health program has been developed by the ACT alcohol, tobacco and other drug sector.

The program was launched on 16 December 2011 by the ACT Chief Minister.

Naloxone (Narcan ®) is a schedule 4 opioid antagonist used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Naloxone is widely used in Australia and internationally by paramedics and emergency room staff in cases of suspected opioid overdose. It has no psychoactive effect, is not a drug of dependence, and therefore, is not a substance which is likely to be diverted or misused.  The purpose of expanding naloxone availability is to further reduce and prevent death, disability, and injury from opioid overdoses through provision of training and resources to opioid users and their friends and family members who could be potential overdose witnesses. The ACT program aims to:

  • Increase effectiveness of interventions in opioid overdose management;
  • Provide comprehensive overdose management training to potential overdose witnesses;
  • Provide naloxone under prescription to potential overdose victims; and
  • Reduce opioid overdoses through overdose prevention education.

This initiative has been driven by the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy (CAHMA) and the multidisciplinary Expanding Naloxone Availability in the ACT (ENAACT) Committee.

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