A qualitative evaluation of a peer-implemented overdose response pilot project in Gejiu, China.

Research paper by Nicholas N Bartlett, Deming D Xin, Hong H Zhang, Bamian B Huang

Indexed on: 11 Jun '11Published on: 11 Jun '11Published in: International Journal of Drug Policy


A harm reduction NGO in southern Yunnan operating an emergency overdose response hotline service successfully reversed 76 overdoses through the administration of naloxone in one of the first interventions of its kind in China.To explore local understandings of risk factors related to overdose, assess ongoing barriers to overdose response, and solicit client input on how to further reduce opiate overdose mortality in Gejiu, the authors conducted qualitative interviews with 30 clients, including 15 individuals who received naloxone injections to reverse an overdose and 15 individuals who called the hotline in response to the overdose of a peer.Participants pointed to a number of local structural shifts in heroin use including the ageing of the opiate using population and drug mixing practises that contribute to the city's overdose toll. Concerns over medical professionals' willingness to treat drug users, protection of confidentiality, and financial costs associated with treatment frequently cause drug users to avoid contact with the city's emergency service providers. Participants suggest directly distributing naloxone to clients as one strategy to further reduce overdose mortality.The authors explore possible strategies, including targeted trainings and new partnerships with local hospitals, to further reduce opiate overdose mortality in this resource-poor setting.