Evaluation of the Staying Alive programme: training injection drug users to properly administer naloxone and save lives

Int J Drug Policy. 2009 Mar;20(2):131-6. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2008.03.002. Epub 2008 Apr 22.


Background: In response to the high rates of opiate-related overdoses and deaths in the United States, a number of overdose prevention programmes have been implemented that include training drug users to administer naloxone, an opiate antagonist. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Staying Alive (SA) programme in Baltimore, Maryland, which trained drug users to prevent and respond to opiate overdose using techniques including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and administration of naloxone.

Methods: Participants for the SA programme were recruited from multiple locations by Baltimore City Health Department Needle Exchange programme staff. A 1-h training was conducted by two facilitators. Participants who successfully completed the programme were provided with a kit that contained naloxone. Participants in the evaluation study were enrolled prior to the training session. The present analysis includes 85 participants who completed a pre- and post-test evaluation survey.

Results: At both time points, 43 participants reported having witnessed an overdose. Post-training, naloxone was administered by 19 with no reported adverse effects. Post-training, a greater proportion of participants reported using resuscitation skills taught in the SA programme along with increased knowledge specifically about naloxone.

Conclusions: Results from this study provide additional evidence to support the effectiveness of overdose prevention training programmes that include skills building for drug users to administer naloxone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baltimore
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / education*
  • Drug Overdose / mortality
  • Drug Overdose / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naloxone / administration & dosage*
  • Naloxone / adverse effects
  • Naloxone / supply & distribution
  • Narcotic Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Narcotic Antagonists / supply & distribution
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / organization & administration
  • Preventive Health Services / methods
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / mortality
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / therapy*


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naloxone