Improved response by peers after witnessed heroin overdose in Melbourne

Kerr, Debra, Dietze, Paul, Kelly, Anne-Maree and Jolley, Damien 2009, Improved response by peers after witnessed heroin overdose in Melbourne, Drug and alcohol review, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 327-330, doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2009.00029.x.

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Title Improved response by peers after witnessed heroin overdose in Melbourne
Author(s) Kerr, DebraORCID iD for Kerr, Debra
Dietze, Paul
Kelly, Anne-Maree
Jolley, Damien
Journal name Drug and alcohol review
Volume number 28
Issue number 3
Start page 327
End page 330
Total pages 4
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Chichester, Eng.
Publication date 2009-05
ISSN 0959-5236
Keyword(s) heroin
Summary INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: In response to concerns about the prevalence of heroin-related morbidity and mortality, overdose response training programs have been implemented in Victoria, with the aim of improving outcomes after heroin overdose. The aim of this study was to examine reported overdose response by current injecting drug users (IDU) during overdose events, in comparison with previous studies.

DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 99 IDU (median age 35 years, 72% male) were administered a questionnaire that collected information on knowledge and experience regarding recognition of heroin overdose and response. The primary outcome measure was the rate of ambulance notification and expired air resuscitation during witnessed heroin overdose. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and univariate analysis.

RESULTS: Sixty participants had overdosed at least once, and 84% had witnessed an overdose. 78% recognised altered consciousness as a sign of heroin overdose, but less were aware of depressed breathing (42%) or cyanosis (61%). Reported overdose interventions included correct positioning (39%), expired air resuscitation (32%), ambulance notification (76%) and staying with the victim (87%).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Our study has found improved responses to heroin overdose during witnessed heroin overdose among current IDU, compared with earlier work. However, a lack of knowledge regarding appropriate first-aid response persists, which might improve with the development and implementation of training initiatives in this area, ranging from identification of overdose to the administration of life-saving measures.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2009.00029.x
Field of Research 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 929999 Health not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2009, Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
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