Call for wider use of overdose-reversing drug

While GPs are able to prescribe naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdose, to the general public, stigma and gaps in education for both doctors and patients have been blamed for its sluggish uptake.

“People are putting their hands up for it very clearly,” said Sione Crawford, manager of the Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy.

But he said that the stigma associated with being a person who might overdose could be turning people away.

“It can be an embarrassing thing, and people can fear being judged for needing this type of intervention," said Mr Crawford, who oversees a Canberra naloxone training program for addicts and their friends.

“The other barrier is people simply not knowing that it’s prescribable.”

Because heroin overdoses are most likely to happen at home in the company of other people and about three hours after injection, peer-administered naloxone has been