This collection brings together documents that provide the best information on overdose and overdose prevention. This is the latest in a series of 50 Best Collections commissioned or created by Harm Reduction International as part of our work to promote harm reduction on a global basis.
Overdose is a risk when using many psychoactive drugs – but is much more common for some drugs (such as opioids) than others (such as cannabis and nicotine). It is especially common for people who use combinations of substances, and those who inject drugs. This collection focuses predominantly on illicit drug use, as this is the area in which overdose prevention efforts have concentrated. In many ways, overdose prevention is a quintessential harm reduction approach. Research indicates that overdose is a familiar issue for people who inject drugs, with many studies finding high levels of self-reported non-fatal overdoses or witnessed overdoses. Crucially, overdose is a fundamentally preventable harm. For opioid overdoses in particular, a ‘cure’ exists in ‘Naloxone’ – yet this is a shamefully underused intervention around the world given its potential to save lives.
This collection provides information and best practice on a range of overdose topics – including those that provide overviews of the issues, studies focusing on the epidemiology and prevalence of overdose, studies that identify various risk factors for overdose, naloxone research, best practice for naloxone distribution, and reports on other interventions. It is intended for a broad range of audiences - including policy makers, practitioners, communities and researchers around the world. The collection is periodically reviewed, so please contact Harm Reduction International with any feedback or suggestions.
This collection was launched on August 31st 2009 – International Overdose Awareness Day. Since 2000, the purpose of this day has been to build awareness about overdose, and to remember friends, peers, family members and colleagues who have died or are suffering from a permanent injury due to an overdose, and to help spread the message that there is still much work to be done to prevent this harm. Please visit the Australian Salvation Army website for more information.