United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Issues Discussion Paper on Opioid Overdoses: Preventing and Reducing Opioid Overdose Mortality

In June the UNODC issued a Discussion Paper stating, “It is critical that existing recommendations to reduce high rates of overdose among people who use opioids, both illicitly and prescribed, be systematically implemented and followed globally. Efforts to increase the uptake of existing recommended approaches (such as opioid agonist maintenance treatment and making naloxone available to medical staff and treatment facilities) should be a priority.

A number of additional approaches warrant further investigation and action. This includes addressing areas such as the growing issue of prescription opioid overdose and the use of opioids in chronic non-malignant pain.

Likewise, experiences with over-the-counter licensing for naloxone and peer distribution should be looked at in detail. The initial experiences with respect to the early treatment of overdose (including both resuscitation and the use of naloxone) by peers and family members show promising results, and there is clear interest in this area from funding agencies.

The complexities of interpretation of the data, the differing models of naloxone availability, and the lack of clear guidance for training and implementation in the field suggest that there is a demand for further evidence-based guidance from United Nations organizations on how to best structure and implement overdose prevention efforts.”

The 28 page document discusses risk factors, responding to overdoses, and prevention measures.


Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – June 2013