Ambulance-attended opioid overdoses
In a recent ambulance study, 1054 non-fatal opioid overdoses in central Oslo were examined to understand if opening hours at a safe injection facility affected these overdoses, and what role the overdose location may have on severity and ambulance transport.
Location has a role as a risk factor for overdoses. Public injectors face an increased risk of non-fatal overdoses, and those who overdose in a private location have an increased mortality rate.
This study found that half of the overdoses happened in public locations. One third were from the safe injection facility, with less than 8% occurring in private homes.
Location of the overdose appeared to have a role in clinical symptom severity of the patients and the likelihood of further ambulance transport. Those from private homes and the safe injection facility had similarly severe symptoms, but over 85% of those from the safe injection facility did not require ambulance transport.
Over half of the opioid overdoses attended by ambulance services occurred while the safe injection facility was open. However, when the safe injection facility was closed, patients had a 40% increased odds of receiving further ambulance transport.
Overall the findings from the study show a potential role that the safe injection facility has as a place for observing and monitoring overdose victims. While one third of the overdoses occurred there, the majority did not require transport, indicating they were stable with pre-hospital discharge. In addition, this study adds to our knowledge on the importance of monitoring overdose locations, and its potential use in overdose prevention work.