Background: British Columbia (BC), Canada, is experiencing an unprecedented number of opioid overdoses mainly due to the contamination of illicit drugs with fentanyl and its analogues. Reluctance to seek emergency medical help (i.e., by calling 9-1-1) has been identified as a barrier to optimal care for overdose victims. This study aimed to identify the correlates of seeking help during an overdose event when naloxone was administered via BC's Take Home Naloxone (THN) program. Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we reviewed administrative records (from July 2015 to December 2017) about overdose events submitted by THN participants when they received their replacement naloxone kits (n = 2350). The primary outcome of the study was reported calling 9-1-1 and modified Poisson regression models were built to investigate the factors associated with help-seeking during an overdose event. Results: Most overdose victims were men (69.0%) and >30 years old (61.5%). Overall, participants reported calling 9-1-1 in 1310 (55.7%) overdose events. In the multivariable model, the likelihood of calling 9-1-1 was significantly and positively associated with the overdose victim being male and receiving rescue breathing. The likelihood of calling 9-1-1 was significantly and negatively associated with the overdoses occurring in private residences and health regions other than Vancouver Coastal which delivers services to mostly urban residents. Conclusion: Overall, medical help was sought for 55.7% of overdoses where naloxone was administered. Overdoses occurring among male victims as well as those receiving higher doses of naloxone and mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing were associated with a higher likelihood of help-seeking by responders. Future interventions need to encourage people who witness an overdose to seek emergency medical help.
Karamouzian, M., Kuo, M., Crabtree, A., & Buxton, J. A. (2019). Correlates of seeking emergency medical help in the event of an overdose in British Columbia, Canada: Findings from the Take Home Naloxone program. International Journal of Drug Policy. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2019.01.006