The formation of overdose and the distribution of naloxone are key parts of a comprehensive response to the overdose epidemic, and data support the expansion of these programs in the United States to reduce fatal overdoses. But nalaxone still seems insufficiently available and / or used.
A new study by Indiana University researchers published in the journal BMC Public Health, explored people ‘s beliefs about overdose and nalaxone as a step towards understanding why some communities do not use drugs to cancel. They found that there are still a number of misconceptions about naloxone, in particular that it encourages more drug use.
“We found that most people believe that trained observers can prevent naloxone overdose,” said John Egley, an associate professor at the IU School of Public Health in Bloomington and lead author of the study. “However, we also found that some people also held unsupported beliefs that could make them less comfortable with the program in their community.”
The formation of overdose and the spread of naloxone often depend on naloxone and non-professionals – those who may witness an overdose. But little official research has been done to understand that non-professionals believe about naloxone and overdose, Egley said.
The study used an approach from the COVID-19 disinformation team research to examine beliefs in four conceptual areas, three of which contradict one or more scientific studies.
They were compensatory beliefs – the idea that people who use opioids will use more opioids or are less likely to seek treatment if they have access to naloxone; the inevitability of an overdose is the idea that people who have experienced a non-fatal overdose usually overdose repeatedly and usually die from an overdose within a year; and the plausibility of misinformation – in this case the idea that naloxone can be used to get high, which is impossible. They also asked about the effectiveness of naloxone to non-professionals – the idea that training and providing naloxone is associated with preventing fatal overdoses.
Most people believed that nalaxone saved lives, and most understood that people could not drink nalaxone. However, the study found that many believed that opioid users would use more opioids if they knew they had access to naloxone, an idea, according to Agli, contradicts the study. He expressed concern that such beliefs could prevent communities from participating in these programs.
“It is very encouraging to see the widespread belief that passers-by can use naloxone to prevent an overdose, which has been confirmed by research,” Egley said. “But more needs to be done to eliminate some misconceptions about the use of naloxone overdose education and proliferation and to encourage communities to use these life-saving programs.”
Egley said more research is needed to truly understand not only the sometimes conflicting beliefs of people overdose education and nalaxone dissemination, but also to create educational programs that can help communities understand how these programs can play a role in reducing fatal overdoses.
Jon Agley et al, Beliefs and misconceptions about naloxone and overdose among non-US professionals: a cross-sectional study BMC Public Health (2022). DOI: 10.1186 / s12889-022-13298-3
Citation: The study examines how people’s beliefs affect training in the naloxone overdose and distribution program (2022, May 16, 2022), obtained May 16, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-05- explores-people-beliefs-impact-overdose.html
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