National survey of non-fatal overdoses among opiate users in Wales.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


fatal overdose, and a qualitative interview survey of a subset of the respondents to find out the nature and circumstances of overdose events. The key findings from the quantitative questionnaire survey are that almost half (47%) of all opiate users said that they had overdosed at least once in their lives and 15 per cent said that they had done so in the last 12 months. There was little difference in the prevalence of non-fatal overdose among male and female respondents. There was also no difference in the likelihood of non-fatal overdose among younger and older users. On average, respondents who reported overdosing in the last 12 months stated that they had overdosed twice in that time. Naloxone was administered by one or more persons in 38 per cent of all cases of a non-fatal overdose. One of the key findings from the qualitative interview survey was that there was no clear consensus among opiate users about what constituted an overdose. Overdosing was perceived to be linked to several factors such as the purity (strength) of the drug used, intravenous use, and mixing with other drugs (especially Valium). The majority of users implemented harm-reduction techniques, such as: testing the strength of heroin before using it, always using the same amount, using with someone else, finding a trustworthy dealer, using with people they trusted, and judging the physical appearance of the drug.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUnknown Publisher
Commissioning bodyWelsh Government
Number of pages64
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2014


  • non-fatal overdose
  • national survey
  • opiate users


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