Homeless Drug Users' Awareness and Risk Perception of Peer "Take Home Naloxone" Use - A Qualitative Study
Background: Peer use of take home naloxone has the potential to reduce drug related deaths. There appears to be a paucity of research amongst homeless drug users on the topic. This study explores the acceptability and potential risk of peer use of naloxone amongst homeless drug users. From the findings the most feasible model for future treatment provision is suggested.
Methods: In depth face-to-face interviews conducted in one primary care centre and two voluntary organisation centres providing services to homeless drug users in a large UK cosmopolitan city. Interviews recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically by framework techniques.
Results: Homeless people recognise signs of a heroin overdose and many are prepared to take responsibility to give naloxone, providing prior training and support is provided. Previous reports of the theoretical potential for abuse and malicious use may have been overplayed.
Conclusion: There is insufficient evidence to recommend providing "over the counter" take home naloxone" to UK homeless injecting drug users. However a programme of peer use of take home naloxone amongst homeless drug users could be feasible providing prior training is provided. Peer education within a health promotion framework will optimise success as current professionally led health promotion initiatives are failing to have a positive impact amongst homeless drug users. (Authors)
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