Drug Overdose Peer Education
The Drug Overdose Prevention/Peer Education (DOPE) program has been funded by the Department of Health to deliver peer based overdose education to illicit drug users since 1999.
Originally called the VIVAIDS Heroin Overdose Prevention Project (HOPP), the project changed its name to the Drug Overdose Prevention Project (DOPE) in 2002 to include people who use amphetamine type substances (ATS) as well as opiate users and poly drug users. DOPE has always tried to be responsive to changing trends in drug use reported by local drug users. This aspect of the project has been fundamental to its success and ensures that the information provided remains up to date and relevant at the time of delivery.
The primary aim of DOPE is to reduce the incidence of both fatal and non-fatal overdose among current heroin, ATS and poly drug users in Victoria. We do this by designing and delivering peer education workshops to groups of up to ten current users at a time.
Overdose, as most users know, is part of drug using culture and many users express an air of acceptance about overdose.
Our overdose education encourages drug users to take steps to reduce the risk of overdose and to learn to respond appropriately if/when an overdose occurs.
Harm Reduction Victoria believes that drug users are the most appropriate people to train in overdose response since they are the most likely people to be present at the time of overdose.
Drug users can be taught to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) until an ambulance arrives.
Research indicates that if those present intervene and administer BLS, the outcomes for the overdose victim are significantly improved. As a result we incorporate hands-on resuscitation training in all ‘Overdose Prevention, Recognition and Overdose Response’ workshops.
Developed by experienced peer education staff at Harm Reduction Victoria and road tested by numerous groups of people who use drugs over many years, HRVic’s evidence-based overdose workshops are designed to inform people who use drugs about all aspects of overdose, from the nuts and bolts of reducing the risk of overdose, and recognising the warning signs of overdose, through to hands on overdose response training.
Available in a range of formats – from a full 3 hour program to shorter versions – the comprehensive workshop is equally relevant for opioid as well as amphetamine users.
Feedback from participants is consistently positive and helps the workshop program to grow and evolve.
To book or enquire about an overdose training session for staff or clients, click here: