About this guidance

This guidance is designed to give managers in accommodation-based homelessness services a framework to implement good practice around using naloxone as part of a wider harm reduction approach.

We believe this will reduce the number of lives unnecessarily lost to heroin and other opioid overdose. This is especially relevant given that homelessness is understood to increase the risk of opioid use.

Provision of naloxone is an evidence-based intervention that can save lives. Incorporating naloxone into homelessness services encourages drug users to engage with treatment services and helps to keep them alive until they are in recovery. It is important to remember that the intervention is not just about providing naloxone: training people to recognise the signs of overdose and how to respond appropriately are key steps in reducing drug-related deaths.

There are no legally set protocols on the storage and use of naloxone within homelessness services. This guidance was written following the updated national protocols on 1st October 2015 and in light of our work with the Naloxone Action Group England.

Many thanks to the following organisations for their support in developing this guidance: Naloxone Action Group England, Society of St James, Martindale Pharma, Cosgarne Hall, Norfolk Recovery Partnership, Scottish Drugs Forum, St Mungo’s Broadway, Brighton & Hove DAAT, DCLG, and members of our guidance sounding board.