Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

24 July 2020

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing

Free take-home naloxone trial will save lives

A new trial of free take-home naloxone will commence this week to help combat opioid-related overdoses as part of the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to keeping Tasmanians safe as we address the impacts of COVID-19.

We know that the accidental misuse of prescription medication and illegal opioid use is a major cause of overdose, leading to hospitalisation and death, and that one of the most effective ways to prevent such overdoses is access to the drug naloxone.

Naloxone is a fast-acting medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. It is safe to use, and side effects are rare.

It comes in the form of a safe and easy-to-use nasal spray called Nyxiod® and will be free for people at risk of experiencing an opioid-related overdose.

The trial will be available through primary Needle and Syringe Program providers across the State. This initiative removes barriers such as cost, access and stigma associated with drug use.

The Poisons Regulations 2018 have been amended to allow Needle and Syringe Program workers to supply naloxone to people at risk of drug overdose.

There has been extensive training for staff on the delivery of naloxone, including providing information about recognising and responding to a suspected overdose.

Tasmania is leading the way with this ground-breaking legislation that has the potential to save lives.

Evidence shows that providing naloxone as part of treatment not only reduces opioid-related death – it also gives people a sense of empowerment over the choices they make.

Additionally, it opens conversations between health workers, clients, and their families and friends, about problematic drug use and how to reduce it through other strategies.

The impact of COVID-19 will be far reaching and that is why the Government has invested $4 million in Mental Health initiatives including for alcohol and drug services such as $250,000 to adapt the State’s pharmacotherapy program and $450,000 for the Technology Fund Grant to support community-managed sectors to purchase the technology equipment to adapt their services.

Anyone who needs help can call support services any time:

  • National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline 1800 250 015
  • Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 811 994
  • Family Drug Support 1300 368 186
  • A Tasmania Lifeline 1800 98 44 34

You can also access the Tasmanian Alcohol and Drug Services on 1300 139 641.

A full list of alcohol and other drugs services across Tasmania is available from the Primary Health Tasmania Health Directory Tasmanian Health Directory - Primary Health Tasmania and from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council Tasmania website ATDC – Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council Tasmania

More Media Releases from Jeremy Rockliff

More Media Releases from the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing