Overdose education and naloxone distribution program design informed by people who use drugs and naloxone distributors

Michael Enich, Rachel Flumo, Stephanie Campos, Netanya Flores, Nora Sullivan, Jenna Mellor, Caitlin O'Neill, Amesika N. Nyaku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People who use drugs (PWUD) are the most directly affected by the overdose epidemic. However, they are not often targets of overdose education and naloxone distribution (OEND) programs. Instead, these programs target friends or family members of people prescribed opioids or general community members. This study aimed to understand the perspectives of PWUD and community naloxone distributors on OEND program design. We used a community-based participatory research model to elucidate participant perspectives on what OEND programs should look like in the context of each individual's specific risk environment. We conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with PWUD and naloxone distributors (n = 30) in New Brunswick and Newark, New Jersey between February and November of 2022. We analyzed interviews using thematic analysis and identified the following themes: increasing naloxone knowledge, peer-based naloxone access, increasing PWUD-informed OEND program design, and desired broader OEND program scope. All Participants knew what naloxone was and emphasized that naloxone needed to be ubiquitous in the community. Participants prioritized peer-based distribution, integrating distribution into community organizations, and addressing psychosocial issues related to naloxone administration and drug use. In summary, PWUD and community naloxone distributors emphasized peer-led community naloxone distribution that prioritized novel ways for PWUD to access naloxone. OEND program design should prioritize PWUD's perspectives and direct community naloxone distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102374
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Community based participatory research
  • Drug use
  • Harm reduction
  • Naloxone
  • Opioid use disorder
  • Overdose prevention


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