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Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that is used as a safe and effective agent for reversing the effects of opioids, including prescription opiates (e.g. methadone, codeine, fentanyl, morphine), Over-the-Counter (OTC) codeine, and illicit opiates such as heroin (6). The primary appeal of Naloxone is that it cannot be used to get high, so it has no potential for misuse. There is also no known evidence to suggest that extended use of Naloxone can cause harm, dependence, or tolerance effects to those who use it.

How can I get Naloxone?

As of 1 February 2016, Naloxone can be purchased OTC in Australian pharmacies. It is available as a prefilled syringe or ampoule, 400 microgram/mL and is retailed for around $17.39 for 1 x 1ml injection or $57.99 for 5 x 1ml injections. With a prescription, this cost is reduced to $39.50, and for those with a health concession, is further reduced to $6.40


Despite this, the availability of Naloxone among Tasmanian pharmacies appears to be limited as most may not regularly stock this medication, unless specifically ordered.

Guidelines for a Schedule 3 drug of the Poisons List (Pharmacist only medicine)

  • Primarily, the prescribing pharmacist must personally hand the medicine to the customer, and this may be supplied directly to the intended patient or to another person e.g. a relative or carer.

  • There is no explicit legislated limit to the quantity that may be provided or the age of the  customer, pharmacists can supply only “in a quantity and for a purpose that accord with the recognised therapeutic standard of what is appropriate in the circumstances”.

  • There is no requirement to record the customer’s name or other details of the supply

It is not an offence to possess naloxone.

Naloxone Statistics


  • Among people who injected drugs (PWID) a high proportion report to have used opioids in the past six months. In 2018, only 4% of PWID opioid users reported experiencing an overdose in the past 6 months, which indicates a significant decline within the previous five years

  • Among people who frequently inject drugs in Tasmania, 84% reported having used any opioid in the past six months

  • Of those opioid users, 48% reported having ever had an opioid overdose and 4% reported having experienced an opioid overdose in the past six months

  • Of the PWID opioid consumers, 90% reported having heard about Naloxone and only 44% reported to carry Naloxone on their person

  • Only 42% of PWID opioid consumers reported to be aware of the rescheduling of Naloxone as a schedule 3 drug which occurred in 2016

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