To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, cohealth is highlighting the life-saving impact of its Naloxone program, which has been estimated to have saved two lives per week since commencement three years ago.
With a July report from the Victorian Coroner’s Court revealing that 187 people died of heroin overdose in 2020, cohealth says that is more important than ever to take a harm-reduction approach to drug use in the community.
cohealth’s records reveal that 400 cohealth clients over the last three years reported using their training and their allocation of Naloxone to save someone else’s life; the equivalent of two lives per week.
“To know there are more than 400 people who are still alive because of the work we’re doing is gratifying, but also a positive reflection on our clients who have taken the initiative to access Naloxone and use it,” said Danny Jeffcote
“It shows that people who inject drugs care about themselves and each other and the community. We want to acknowledge the positive impact of this community and encourage people to seek help without fear of judgement.”
“Our clients ask for Naloxone, and want to know how to use it because they want to look out for their friends, and others in the community,” said Mr Jeffcote.
Since 2018 cohealth has received funding from the Victorian Government to provide free training to intravenous drug users in how to use Naloxone, as well as distributing Naloxone vouchers which clients then take to a pharmacy. The Naloxone program operates out of three coheatlh sites: Innerspace in Collingwood, Health Works in Footscray and a Braybrook clinic.
In addition to Naloxone availability at fixed sites, cohealth also distributes Naloxone into the community through street outreach.
Mr Jeffcote says that providing Naloxone is a way for cohealth workers to start conversations with clients about other supports they need.
“The Naloxone conversation is often a stepping stone to getting people to see a cohealth GP or a mental health nurse, and sometimes it’s a gateway to talk about pathways out of addiction,” says Mr Jeffcote.
As well as providing access to Naloxone, cohealth also connects people who use drugs and experience homelessness with GPs, nurses, counselling and other support programs.
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cohealth is a Victorian not-for-profit community health organisation that strives to improve health and wellbeing for all. It provides universal access to services as well as targeted programs and assertive models to address the health disparities experienced by disadvantaged groups. cohealth offers a broad range of high quality, integrated health and support services, including medical oral, pharmacy, mental health and drug and alcohol services.