The ACT Government will progress legislative changes to protect “Good Samaritans” who administer Naloxone in life-saving situations.
Minister for Health Simon Corbell announced the changes today at the launch of the final evaluation report into an innovative program aimed at saving the lives of people at risk of opioid overdose.
“I will progress changes later this year to the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act, to legally protect people when they administer Naloxone in a life-saving situation,” Mr Corbell said.
“I hope this change will encourage more people to get involved in the program in the future to help save more lives and reduce harm caused by opiods.”
The ACT program, which began in March 2012, was Australia’s first to provide Naloxone to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, on prescription to potential victims. This allowed people other than health professionals to administer the drug in a timely and appropriate manner to overdose victims.
“This comprehensive report proves that the program has been a genuine life-saver. It also recommends continuation of the ACT program, and makes a number of suggestions on delivery format, scope, partnerships and funding that may improve the reach and sustainability of the program,” Mr Corbell said.
“Again, the ACT has led the way by listening to the key stakeholders involved, and instigating changes which have had a dramatic and positive influence on people’s lives.”
The ACT program was delivered by the peer drug user organisation Canberra Alliance for Harm Minimisation and Advocacy (CAHMA).
Prescriptions were provided by a local physician to 200 eligible participants for administration by a peer or family member in the event of an overdose.
“The report documents 57 overdose reversals with no serious adverse events,” Mr Corbell said.
“Practitioners, participants and other stakeholders involved in the program are reported to be supportive of the program and its continuation.
A wider rollout of the Naloxone program has been made possible by funding of $115,000 announced in this year’s budget.