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Opioid overdose history and awareness of naloxone in patients seeking outpatient detoxification

Saurabh B. Bhardwaj, MD, Gerald Cochran, PhD, Julie Kmiec, DO


Objectives: The goal of this study was to investigate whether patients were knowledgeable about naloxone, and whether they would accept overdose (OD) education and naloxone distribution (OEND), if available.

Design: This is a cross-sectional study to ascertain participants knowledge about OEND. A questionnaire was designed requesting information regarding age, gender, ethnicity, previous OD experience, type of substance(s) used, availability and use of naloxone for reversal, other treatment interventions utilized if witnessed OD, ways of seeking help for OD, knowledge about OEND, and willingness to accept OEND.

Setting: Study was conducted at the ambulatory detoxification clinic of a tertiary healthcare institution.

Participants: Consecutive 131 patients, who presented for primary treatment of opioid detoxification during their visits to the ambulatory detoxification clinic between a predefined timeline from October 2014 through February 2015, were invited to participate, and all 131 agreed to be included in the study. A total of 124 participants returned completed questionnaires (95 percent response rate.)

Results: Overall, 68 (52 percent) of the participants indicated that they would accept OEND. A logistic regression analysis showed that younger participants (95% CI: 0.9-1, p = 0.02) and those who identified as non-white (95% CI: 0-0.8, p = 0.01) had higher odds for accepting OEND. Furthermore, prior administration of naloxone was significantly associated with OEND acceptance (95% CI: 1.6-68.6, p = 0.01).

Conclusions: Results indicate more than half of participants presenting for outpatient detoxification from opioids have had an OD or witnessed an OD. More than half of the participants were willing to accept OEND. This study provides evidence that patients starting their recovery are willing to accept naloxone.


overdose education, naloxone distribution, detoxification, opioid overdose

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