A hands-on toolkit has been designed for policymakers and practitioners which explains how to set up and run naloxone programmes for overdose prevention upon release from prison and other custodial settings.
For people in prison with a history of drug use – in particular, opioid use – the risks related to drug use – in particular overdose and death – are extremely high in the immediate period after release from prison, due to high rates of relapse and lower opioid tolerance. Much still needs to be done in order to ensure that people with a history of drug use are sufficiently cared for when released from prisons.
The newly released ‘Guidelines for naloxone provision upon release from prison and other custodial settings‘ have been produced within the ‘My first 48 hours out’ project with co-funding from the European Commission.
The guidelines are aimed at providing hands-on recommendations for policymakers and practitioners from prison health services on how to promote, initiate and manage interventions related to overdose prevention through naloxone programs and how to organise related training and capacity building.
Kirsten Horsburgh, Strategy Coordinator (Drug-Death Prevention) at Scottish Drugs Forum and author of the guidelines, utilised information and literature available from a number of European countries as well as learnings from the Scottish National Naloxone Programme to create the toolkit; with particular reference to interventions focusing on people leaving prison.
The final version of the guidelines was presented and discussed at an expert meeting, which took place in Glasgow on the 17th July 2018, involving researchers, harm reduction practitioners, experts and representatives of people who use drugs from a number of European countries.
Project partners are still implementing research looking at prisoners and professionals experience on risk behaviour and continuity of care. The naloxone guidelines are also being used and further developed into a comics booklet, providing people who use drugs, harm reduction professionals and peers with educational material on the correct use of naloxone for addressing overdoses upon release from prison.