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Impact of an overdose reversal program in the context of a safe consumption site in Northern Mexico

Goodman-Meza D, Slim S, Angulo L, Gonzalez-Nieto P, Cambou MC, Shoptaw S, Arredondo J. Impact of an overdose reversal program in the context of a safe consumption site in Northern Mexico. Drug and Alcohol Dependence Reports. 2022 Sep 4; 4(September 2022):100079.

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Background Drug overdoses are prevalent in low- and middle-income countries but are scarcely reported in the literature. We report on an opioid overdose reversal and naloxone distribution program that was instituted at the first safe consumption site in Latin America. Methods A cross-sectional analysis of witnessed drug overdoses and naloxone distribution between 1 June 2019 and 31 May 2021 in Mexicali, Mexico. Case report forms were entered in an electronic database. Trends in overdose and naloxone distribution were described. Comparisons were made before and after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in the city. Maps were created to represent the geographic distribution of overdose in the city. Results During the study period 1,534 doses of naloxone were distributed throughout the community. In addition, there were 464 overdoses reported during this period, of which 4 were fatal. There was a 30% increase in reported overdoses from the period before the COVID-19 pandemic to the period after the pandemic was declared (p = 0.03). Most common substance reported included heroin (93%), sedatives (21%), methamphetamine (16%) and fentanyl (14%). Naloxone was given in 96% of cases (median 1 dose, IQR 1-2 doses) and emergency services were called in 20% of cases. Conclusions An opioid overdose reversal program in Mexicali, Mexico was able to distribute naloxone and register drug overdoses between 2019 and 2021 as a harm reduction strategy. This adds to the growing body of literature on the impact of community-based programs on preventing fatal overdoses and the potential for implementation in low-resource settings.

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