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Opportunities to boost naloxone awareness among people who misuse opioid analgesics who have not used illegal opioids.

Gicquelais RE, Bohnert ASB, Fernandez AC. Opportunities to boost naloxone awareness among people who misuse opioid analgesics who have not used illegal opioids. Substance Abuse. 2020 Jul 21; 1-5.

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BACKGROUND: Increasing naloxone awareness and carrying among individuals who misuse opioid analgesic medications (OAs) could reduce opioid overdose mortality. : Self-report surveys were completed by 322 adults receiving residential addiction treatment who misused OAs in the past year. Descriptive analyses and prevalence ratios (using Poisson generalized estimating equations) examined whether illegal opioid (e.g., heroin) initiation was associated with naloxone awareness. : Among this sample of participants who misused OAs, naloxone awareness was lowest among those who never used illegal opioids (26%) and highest among those who transitioned from OAs to illegal opioid use over time (83%). Naloxone awareness remained higher among participants who had used illegal opioids after adjustment for sociodemographic and substance use characteristics. Those who used OAs before initiating illegal opioids were 2.3-fold (95% CI: 1.5-3.3) more likely to have naloxone awareness than those who had only misused OAs after adjustment. Half of participants who had only used OAs had experienced an overdose, 75% had witnessed an overdose, and 61% were prescribed OAs to treat pain in the past 6?months. Implementing overdose education and naloxone distribution programs during addiction treatment could bolster naloxone awareness among people who misuse OAs but who have not used illegal opioids.

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