Heroin overdose cure should be available to addicts: NDRI

HEROIN addicts should be allowed to take home the drug overdose antidote naloxone without medical expert involvement.

That's the call from National Drug Research Institute deputy director Simon Lenton after the recent downgrading of naloxone to a schedule three drug.

The change means addicts can get it from chemists without a prescription.

However, they are still required to have medical experts like pharmacists or doctors dispense the drug.

Professor Lenton, writing in Monday's Medical Journal of Australia Perspective publication, said was time for authorities to hand the dispensing role over to less qualified "allied health" practitioners or "peer workers" to reduce costs for patients.

"We hope that the rescheduling of naloxone to make it available over the counter will lead to state and territory health officials exploring ways to similarly allow Australian take-home programs to dispense this medication directly and cost-effectively to their clients," he said.

- APN NEWSDESK


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