Overdoses among friends: Drug users are willing to administer naloxone to others

Tara Lagu, Bradley J. Anderson, Michael Stein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The distribution of naloxone to heroin users is a suggested intervention to reduce overdose and death rates. However, the level of willingness of drug users to administer this medication to others is unclear. Drug users recruited from the community between January 2002 and January 2004 completed a structured interview that assessed topics including drug use, overdose history, and attitudes toward using overdose remedies to assist others. Of the 329 drug users, 82% had used heroin and 64.3% reported that they had injected drugs. Nearly two thirds (64.6%) said that they had witnessed a drug overdose and more than one third (34.6%) had experienced an accidental drug overdose. Most participants (88.5%) said that they would be willing to administer a medication to another drug user in the event of an overdose. Participants who had used heroin (p = .024), had injected drugs (p = .022), had witnessed a drug overdose (p = .001), or had a history of one or more accidental drug overdoses (p = .009) were significantly more willing to treat a companion who had overdosed. Drug users were willing to use naloxone in the event of a friend's overdose. Specific drug use and overdose histories were associated with the greatest willingness to administer naloxone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-133
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Naloxone
  • Opiate dependence
  • Overdose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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