"The life they save may be mine": Diffusion of overdose prevention information from a city sponsored programme

Susan G. Sherman, Donald S. Gann, Karin E. Tobin, Carl A. Latkin, Christopher Welsh, Peter Bielenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Overdose remains the leading cause of death among injection drug users (IDUs) in the United States. Overdose rates are consistently high in Baltimore, MD, USA. The current qualitative study examines diffusion of information and innovation among participants in Staying Alive, an overdose prevention and naloxone distribution programme in Baltimore, MD. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted between June 2004 and August, 2005 with 25 participants who had completed the Staying Alive training and had reported using naloxone to revive an overdose victim. Interviews were taped and transcripts were transcribed verbatim. Results: Participants were 63% male, 63% African American, and the median age was 41 years old. Participants successfully shared information on overdose prevention and management, particularly the use of naloxone, to their peers and family. Conclusions: The current study demonstrates IDUs' interest in and ability to diffuse overdose prevention information and response skills to the injection drug use community. The study underscores the importance of promoting the diffusion of information and skills within overdose prevention programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Injection drug users
  • Naloxone
  • Overdose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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