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UISCE Overdose Awareness and Naloxone Training

An update from UISCE on their work during COVID-19 


Over the last few months staff at UISCE – National Advocacy for People who use Drugs in Ireland – have been working hard training service providers and peers on Overdose Response and Naloxone Administration. 

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it can revert the effects of an opioid or opioid related overdose (OD) if administered within a short period following an OD. 
Training staff and peers on how to respond to an Opioid Overdose is one of UISCE’s priorities but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the training needed to be adapted to make it COVID19 appropriate.

UISCE has been involved in the HSE Naloxone Implementation Project for a few years. UISCE’s Naloxone Training and Distribution project has been going strong since April 2020.

UISCE and the COVID-19 response 

In response to changes to overdose response implemneted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, UISCE published an updated “Step by Step Guide on How to Respond to an Opioid Overdose During COVID19” that was translated to 7 different languages and distributed through services with the support of HSE National Social Inclusion Office.



María Otero and Lynn Jefferys have trained around 100 staff and peers on how to respond to an Opioid Overdose during COVID19 and how to administer Naloxone. With the support of Dr Kieran Harkin and Merchants Quay Ireland (MQI), UISCE was also able to provide the product to people who were at risk of opioid overdose. 

Through these trainings, UISCE also promoted international events such as International Overdose Awareness Day (31st August 2020) and Recovery Month (September 2020).


Stephen McGrane (SOILSE) with Lynn Jefferys

In addition to training staff and peers from The SAOL Project (NIC) and Ballyfermot Chapelizod Partnership (pictured below), for IOAD UISCE wanted to link with the community of People who use Drugs (PWUD) to find out how many people knew about Naloxone.

Una Rafferty (BCP), Lynn Jefferys with trainees from BCP

Part of UISCE’s work over the last few months has been focused on making sure that the community of people who use drugs know about Naloxone, where to get it and how to use it. Raising awareness about Naloxone has been a key priority for UISCE for years. UISCE has been involved in the Naloxone Implementation Project since 2016, working together with the HSE and other stakeholders to promote awareness, training and distribution of Naloxone

For IOAD 2020, UISCE wanted to showcase the work they and many other organisations have been doing around Overdose Awareness and Naloxone Training had the positive impact this has had on the community.

In a 2018 survey, UISCE asked peers if they knew what Naloxone was, where to get it or how to use it. More recently, peers were asked the same series of questions. Asking the same questions two years later aimed to evaluate the impacts of all the work that UISCE and many other incredible services have been doing around Overdose Awareness and Naloxone Training in the community of people who use drugs.


As refelected in the results, more people now know the purpose of Naloxone with 80% peers stating the knew what Naloxone was, compared to 20% in 2018. When asked if the knew where to get Naloxone, 74%  of respondents said yes (compared to 15% in 2018)

In 2020, UISCE also asked people if they were trained on how to use Naloxone with 50% od respondents stating that they were. These findings were presented by UISCE  during the IOAD virtual event organised but the HSE and the Department of Health. 

Moving forward, UISCE are committed to continue to enure that everybody has access to Naloxone Training. 

Please contact UISCE if you want to get trained on how to use Naloxone  

Email - info@myuisce.orgCall - 01 5554693

Authors: María Otero and Lynn Jefferys


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Posted by on 10/21 at 01:07 PM in
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