Background

The distribution of take-home naloxone (THN) kits has been an important strategy in reducing overdose fatalities among people who use drugs. However, little is known about the use of THN among youth who are street-involved. The present study explores knowledge and possession of THN among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting.

Methods

Data were derived from the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS), a prospective cohort of street-involved youth age 14–28 at enrollment in Vancouver, Canada. Participants completed a standardized questionnaire, which included items related to knowledge and possession of THN, sociodemographic characteristics, and substance use-related factors. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to identify factors independently associated with knowledge and possession of THN.

Results

Between December 2014 and November 2016, 177 youth were interviewed, including 68 females (38.4%). While 126 (71.2%) participants reported knowledge of THN, only 40 (22.6%) possessed a THN kit. Caucasian/white ethnicity was found to be positively associated with both knowledge and possession of THN (both p < 0.05). Public injection drug use in the last 6 months was found to be positively associated with knowledge of THN, while daily heroin use and daily methamphetamine use were associated with possession of THN (all p < 0.05). Male gender was negatively associated with possession of THN (p < 0.05).

Conclusions

These findings highlight important gaps between knowledge and possession of THN among youth and the need to increase participation in THN programs among specific populations including non-white and male youth. Further research is needed to gain a better understanding of the barriers that may prevent certain youth from acquiring THN kits.

Julia Goldman-Hasbun, Kora DeBeck, Jane A. Buxton, Ekaterina Nosova, Evan Wood and Thomas Kerr
Harm Reduction Journal, December 22, 2017
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-017-0206-6
https://harmreductionjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12954-017-0206-6