Programming Connection

Overdose Prevention Project 

Streetworks
Edmonton, Alberta
2010

What is the Program?

The Overdose Prevention Project provides people who inject drugs and their social networks with strategies for avoiding overdosing, including access to naloxone and training in how to administer the substance. The project also builds awareness among professionals who come into contact with people who inject drugs (such as police, paramedics and other medical professionals) about overdose prevention and the administration of naloxone.

Streetworks, the only needle exchange program in Edmonton that runs out of five locations and operates a van for evening outreach work, administers the Overdose Prevention Project. There are six staff members (four nurses and two outreach workers) in the core program, which is funded through the Alberta Community HIV Fund (ACHF) with a contribution for supplies by Alberta Health Services.

While encountering people who inject drugs through other outreach efforts, the Streetworks staff identifies clients who are opiate users (or people in their social networks) as potential candidates for participation in the Overdose Prevention Project. Each participant completes a brief, yet comprehensive, training in artificial respiration and naloxone administration before being given an overdose prevention kit, which includes two doses of naloxone. Participants are now able to provide preliminary emergency care for fellow drug users in the event of an overdose prior to seeking professional medical attention.