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Naloxone Outreach Project: Saving Lives of Opioid Overdose Victims in North Philadelphia through Overdose Education, Naloxone Distribution, and Hands-on Training

Presenting Author: Camille Singh, BS, MD(c), Drexel University College of Medicine


Background: Heroin overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in Philadelphia, with 700 fatal opiate overdoses in 2015, and over 900 deaths in 20161. The purity, cheap prices of, and increase in fentanyl in Philadelphia's heroin create a higher risk for fatal overdoses2. Naloxone distribution programs increase education about overdoses and Naloxone administration, and in Massachusetts resulted in reduced opioid-related emergency department visits and overdose death rates3.

Objectives: Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM) created a Naloxone Outreach Program for at-risk, low-income communities in North Philadelphia to increase access to Naloxone and increase education and confidence in overdose prevention and revival.

Methods: DUCOM students travel to communities, like Kensington, to provide education on opiate and fentanyl overdose recognition and prevention, to distribute Naloxone, and provide hands-on training of its administration. We conduct surveys immediately after training, after one month, and three months. These surveys quantify Naloxone doses used with successful revivals, assess comfort levels of those trained in reviving overdose victims and administering Naloxone, and assess their knowledge of overdose recognition and prevention.

Results: Based on follow-up data currently being collected, Kensington community members, trained during a March 2017 Naloxone Outreach event, expressed being very comfortable in their knowledge about overdose revival, Naloxone administration, and overdose prevention and recognition. Five out of 21 doses of Naloxone distributed during this event were used to successfully revive five overdose victims in Kensington.

Implications: DUCOM's Naloxone Outreach Program increases access to Naloxone in Philadelphia's communities-in-need and empowers community members to engage in overdose prevention and revival.


  1. Farley, Thomas. "The Epidemic of Overdoses From Opioids in Philadelphia." CHART. 1.1 (2016).
  2. Rudd, Rose A. ""Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths - United States, 2010-2015."" MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 65 (2016).
  3. Walley AY, Xuan Z, Hackman HH, et al. Opioid overdose rates and implementation of overdose education and nasal naloxone distribution in Massachusetts: interrupted time series analysis. BMJ: British Medical Journal. 2013;346:13-13.

Authors:Camille Singh, BS, MD(c) and Korey Onulack, BS, MD(c)