Naloxone - preventing and responding to adverse effects of opioids

South Australia is participating in the National PBS-subsidised Take Home Naloxone (THN) Program to increase access to naloxone and reduce opioid related fatalities.

Naloxone can be obtained at no cost and without a prescription, from community pharmacies registered for the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Program.

Use the Take Home Naloxone (THN) Registered Pharmacies Locator map below to find your nearest THN pharmacy.

Take Home Naloxone (THN) Registered Pharmacies Locator map

Take Home Naloxone (THN) Registered Pharmacies Locator map

Take Home Naloxone (PDF 186KB) is now available at Southern Adelaide Local Health Network (SALHN).

Adverse effects of opioids

Opioids may cause adverse health effects such as dependence, slowed breathing and even death. Opioids include pharmaceutical opioids, that is, medicines used for pain, and non-pharmaceutical opioids, such as heroin. The average Australian drug-related death last year was a middle-aged person who was taking prescribed pharmaceutical opioids in combination with other prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.

A known side effect of opioids is the potential to slow and stop breathing, even when used as directed. This is often referred to as an overdose. When the strength of opioids is not known (e.g. when heroin is used), the risk is even greater. The term ‘overdose’ can be misleading as often these deaths can occur from usual or prescribed doses in combination with other drugs, and are usually accidental.

These adverse effects of opioids are often unexpected and occur in private homes, witnessed by close friends, a partner or other family members sometime after the opioid has been taken. Discussing how to prevent and respond to the adverse effects of opioids, including how to administer naloxone can increase people’s knowledge and willingness to act.


Naloxone is a lifesaving medication that reverses the effects of opioids and from 1 July 2022, will be free, without a prescription throughout South Australia.

Naloxone is available as an intranasal device (Nyxoid), and through intramuscular injection via ampoules or pre-filled syringe (Prenoxad).

If you take opioids for any reason, or know someone that does, you can access free naloxone and receive information about how to use it from a community or hospital pharmacy near you. Naloxone provides opportunities for overdoses to be treated immediately.

The THN Program can be contacted directly on email:

For any further queries please contact Drug and Alcohol Services SA, Clean Needle Program
on 08 742 55080 or


The following resources are available for download:

Further information

If you think someone has overdosed — Call 000 for an ambulance. Stay with them until help arrives.

Police will only come if:

  • the overdose is suspicious,
  • there has been, or is likely to be a death,
  • ambos call for help.