Opioid antagonist naloxone should be available from community pharmacies to help prevent fentanyl overdose deaths, new guidance from Public Health England (PHE) says.

The guidance, developed by PHE in conjunction with the Local Government Association (LGA), is aimed at helping local commissioners address the problem of illicit strong opioids such as fentanyl in some communities.

The guidance includes the recommendation that naloxone, the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by opiates and opioids, should be available from a greater range of community resources such as community pharmacies and homeless services.

Local areas are advised to investigate where the problem lies within their community and how severe the problem is, for example by using the local drug information system (LDIS) professional information network (PIN) if there is one in the area.

PHE recommends that frontline services such as pharmacies and A&E departments incorporate safer drug use messages such as ‘Drug supplies change, best test first’, ‘Look out for your mates’ and ‘Naloxone – get it, carry it, use it’ in interactions with opioid users.

 

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