Naloxone is a life-saving medication that reverses opioid overdose; naloxone can be provided on a ‘take-home’ basis so naloxone can be administered outside of the health-care setting. The Overdose Response and Take Home Naloxone (ORTHN) project established a model of care for take-home naloxone (THN) interventions across alcohol and other drug and harm reduction services in NSW, Australia. This paper evaluates the staff training and credentialing program, and examines staff attitudes and perspectives regarding the provision of THN interventions in these settings.
Staff across seven services were trained through a ‘train-the-trainer’ credentialing model to deliver ORTHN, including naloxone supply. Staff were surveyed regarding their experience, attitudes and knowledge on THN prior to and after training, and after 6 months. At the 6 months follow up, staff were asked about the interventions they provided, barriers and enablers to uptake, and opinions regarding future rollout.
A total of 204 staff were trained and credentialed to provide the ORTHN intervention. Most (60%) were nurses, followed by needle syringe program workers and allied health/counsellors (32%). Linear and logistic regression analyses indicated that the training program was associated with significant improvements in staff knowledge and attitudes towards overdose and THN; however, only attitudinal improvements were maintained over time. There were high rates of staff satisfaction with the ORTHN intervention and training.
The ORTHN program is ‘fit for purpose’ for broad implementation in these settings. A number of potential barriers (e.g. time, medication and staffing costs) and enablers (e.g. peer engagement, regulatory framework for naloxone supply) in implementing THN interventions were identified.