CAHMA is proud to have inaugurated the first peer-administered naloxone program in Australia. The pilot take-home naloxone program, which was developed by CAHMA’s manager at the time, Nicole Wiggins, in consultation with the Implementing Expanded Naloxone Availability in the ACT (I–ENAACT), ran the first Overdose Management workshops in March 2012. The I-ENAACT pilot program provided training in the skills necessary to respond effectively to opioid overdose through the administration of naloxone and the application of other standard first aid interventions. Each trainee was provided with an overdose reversal kit that contained a pack of five doses of naloxone. The pilot program trained 200 people, all of whom were people who identified as current opioid users. The program was rigorously evaluated by a team of Alcohol and Other Drug experts, who found that the program unquestionably saved lives and made a valuable contribution to reducing the harms cause by opioid overdose.
In 2015, the ACT Government committed the resources necessary for CAHMA to provide take-home naloxone and overdose management training on an ongoing basis. Since then, CAHMA’s naloxone program has flourished.
The program has the support of a wide range of stakeholders, including the Pharmacy Guild, the ACT Division of General Practice, numerous individual General Practitioners, the ACT Ambulance Service, thousands of drug users throughout the ACT as well as their families, friends and allied service providers. The program is strongly supported by the ACT Government and is a jewel in the crown of the Health Minister’s portfolio. Since the success of CAHMA’s Naloxone Program our model has been taken up by community and clinical services across Australia.