Heroin overdose antidote can help vulnerable inmates, research shows

March 22, 2016

Health officials are training soon-to-be-released inmates to use the overdose-reversal drug naloxone to save others and sometimes themselves, according to The Washington Post. Naloxone supporters say the opportunity to save lives outweighs any fears that the promise of an antidote would only encourage drug abuse. Officials already widely distribute the drug to police, paramedics, drug users and their families. The push to equip inmates is new, fueled by research showing former prisoners in Washington state, for example, were nearly 13 times more likely to die of an overdose in the two weeks after their release than other people. Heroin tolerance goes down while users abstain behind bars, but they often return to their previous dose when they get out, putting them at greater risk. A study of 100 Rhode Island inmates who received naloxone found they were able to successfully administer the drug after being released.