Characteristics of an overdose prevention, response, and naloxone distribution program in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

J Urban Health. 2011 Dec;88(6):1020-30. doi: 10.1007/s11524-011-9600-7.


Prevention Point Pittsburgh (PPP) is a public health advocacy organization that operates Allegheny County's only needle exchange program. In 2002, PPP implemented an Overdose Prevention Program (OPP) in response to an increase in heroin-related and opioid-related overdose fatalities in the region. In 2005, the OPP augmented overdose prevention and response trainings to include naloxone training and prescription. The objective of our study is to describe the experiences of 426 individuals who participated in the OPP between July 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008. Of these, 89 individuals reported administering naloxone in response to an overdose in a total of 249 separate overdose episodes. Of these 249 overdose episodes in which naloxone was administered, participants reported 96% were reversed. The data support findings from a growing body of research on similar programs in other cities. Community-based OPPs that equip drug users with skills to identify and respond to an overdose and prescribe naloxone can help users and their peers prevent and reverse potentially fatal overdoses without significant adverse consequences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Overdose / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Heroin / poisoning
  • Heroin / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naloxone / administration & dosage*
  • Naloxone / therapeutic use
  • Narcotic Antagonists / administration & dosage*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Narcotics / poisoning
  • Narcotics / toxicity
  • Needle-Exchange Programs / organization & administration*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Program Evaluation
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / drug therapy
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / prevention & control


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Narcotics
  • Naloxone
  • Heroin