Nurses Supporting Harm Reduction: How Take-Home Naloxone is Conceived in the Context of Neoliberalism




Neoliberalism, take-home-naloxone, harm reduction, discourse, nursing


Introduction – Individuals must be personally invested in their own recovery journey; however, the neoliberal perspective absolves the state of responsibility of this work and makes promotion of health merely an individual action. Naloxone distribution, as a harm reduction strategy, is presented herein as one practice engaged by nurses that demonstrates philosophical tension between neoliberalism and harm reduction.

Background Literature – The research literature supporting the provision of take-home naloxone (THN), non-medically administered, is significant and broad.

Discussion – The problem with neoliberal discourses of constrained healthcare resources in this case is that without broad availability of naloxone, drug poisonings will continue unchecked. There is an ethical call to nurses to support broad distribution of naloxone regardless of the costs involved.

Conclusion – THN is not only a best practice to reduce the harms of substance use, but it is also a political and philosophical act to hand over the control of public health resources to the public.


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Author Biographies

Sibel Kusdemir, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University

Sibel Kusdemir, MScN, PhD student 

Abe Oudshoorn, Western University

Abe Oudshoorn, PhD
Associate Professor
Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, Western University


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How to Cite

Kusdemir, S., & Oudshoorn, A. (2023). Nurses Supporting Harm Reduction: How Take-Home Naloxone is Conceived in the Context of Neoliberalism. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 5(2), 39–52.