Introduction: Take-home naloxone (THN) programs have been operating in Australia since 2012 in a variety of settings. We examine whether THN programs were effective in increasing knowledge about opioid overdose and appropriate responses in program participants.
Methods:Data were obtained from pre- and post-training questionnaires administered as part of the early evaluations of THN naloxone programs operated in Sydney (n=67), Melbourne (n=280), Perth (n=153) and Canberra (n=183). Pooled data from comparable items, analysed in the domains specified in previously-developed evaluation scales, were compared using repeated-measures ANOVA and random effects logistic regression. Results pre- and posttraining were compared as well as results across sites.
Results: Program participants showed improved knowledge about overdose risks and signs as well as appropriate actions to take in response including the use of naloxone with major improvements on knowledge of overdose recognition and effect of naloxone. No substantial differences across programs were identified.
Discussions and Conclusions: Our study contributes to the growing body of evidence showing that THN programs are effective in improving knowledge related to overdose response. Results show that major improvements in knowledge were limited to overdose recognition and effect of naloxone suggesting that education may best be focused on overdose signs and the use of naloxone rather than overdose risk among groups of people with a history of injecting drug use. Further work is needed to understand the impact of training and knowledge on actual behaviours around overdose events.