Both within Australia and internationally, the rising use of opioids is a cause of concern. All opioids—including codeine—can be addictive and their use can result in dependence, accidental overdose, hospitalisation or death. Legal or pharmaceutical opioids (including codeine and oxycodone) are responsible for far more deaths and poisoning hospitalisations than illegal opioids (such as heroin). Every day in Australia, nearly 150 hospitalisations and 14 emergency department presentations involve opioid harm, and 3 people die from drug-induced deaths involving opioid use. Compare that to the national road toll. This is a preventable death. The federal government has recognised this and made available access to a medication that reverses the effects of overdose.
If you take opioids for any reason, or know someone that does, you can access naloxone and receive information about how to use it from a community pharmacy. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that reverses the effects of opioids and provides opportunities for overdoses to be treated immediately.
Naloxone is available as an intranasal device (Nyxoid), and through intramuscular injection via ampoules or pre-filled syringe (Prenoxad).
WRAD in its continuing mission to reduce the harms associated with substance use and prescribed medications is now embarking on a strategy to make available access to this potentially lifesaving medication. WRAD have peer support workers trained in how to administer Naloxone and deliver training in this to consumers regularly. It is an unnecessary death and we will work hard to reduce the risk. Famous movie stars and musicians through the years could have been saved had they access to this medication and someone close by who knows how to administer it. It is an essential first aid intervention in overdose. To this end WRAD will hold workshops for interested community members and please contact WRAD to organise a training session.