Protocol for a multi-site study of the effects of overdose prevention education with naloxone distribution program in Skåne County, Sweden

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Background: Continuously high rates of overdose deaths in Sweden led to the decision by the Skåne County to initiate the first regional take-home naloxone program in Sweden. The project aims to study the effect of overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution on overdose mortality in Skåne County. Secondary outcome measures include non-fatal overdoses and overdose-related harm in the general population, as well as cohort-specific effects in study participants regarding overdoses, mortality and retention in naloxone program. Methods: Implementation of a multi-site train-the-trainer cascade model was launched in June 2018. Twenty four facilities, including opioid substitution treatment units, needle exchange programs and in-patient addiction units were included for the first line of start-up, aspiring to reach a majority of individuals at-risk within the first 6 months. Serving as self-sufficient naloxone hubs, these units provide training, naloxone distribution and study recruitment. During 3 years, questionnaires are obtained from initial training, follow up, every sixth month, and upon refill. Estimated sample size is 2000 subjects. Naloxone distribution rates are reported, by each unit, every 6 months. Medical diagnoses, toxicological raw data and data on mortality and cause of death will be collected from national and regional registers, both for included naloxone recipients and for the general population. Data on vital status and treatment needs will be collected from registers of emergency and prehospital care. Discussion: Despite a growing body of literature on naloxone distribution, studies on population effect on mortality are scarce. Most previous studies and reports have been uncontrolled, thus not being able to link naloxone distribution to survival, in relation to a comparison period. As Swedish registers present the opportunity to monitor individuals and entire populations over time, conditions for conducting systematic follow-ups in the Swedish population are good, serving the opportunity to study the impact of large scale overdose prevention education and naloxone distribution and thus fill the knowledge gap. Trial registration: Naloxone Treatment in Skåne County - Effect on Drug-related Mortality and Overdose-related Complications, NCT 03570099, registered on 26 June 2018.

TidskriftBMC Psychiatry
StatusPublished - 2020 feb. 7

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Psykiatri


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