Naloxone kits issued across Scotland
The Scottish Government today welcomed figures that show naloxone is being distributed the length and breadth of Scotland and is being made available to those at risk of opiate overdose.
Scotland was the first country in the world to announce a national naloxone programme, in November 2010. The programme is centrally coordinated and funded by the Scottish Government, empowering individuals, families, friends and communities to reverse an opiate overdose. Naloxone provides more time for an ambulance to arrive and further treatment to be given to those in opiate overdose situations.
Figures published today show that 3,445 naloxone kits were issued in Scotland in 2011/12 through this national programme. Scottish Government investment in the programme funds a national coordinator based at the Scottish Drugs Forum and support to Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships and Health Boards to enable them to deliver naloxone training and supply naloxone kits to people at risk.
Naloxone kits can also be given to family, friends, carers and partners, provided consent has been given by the person at risk, although naloxone training is itself available to anyone.
Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham, who has responsibility for drugs policy, said:
“This Government is committed to addressing Scotland’s long legacy of problem drug use through our drugs strategy, the Road to Recovery. We have invested record amounts in frontline drug treatment services to help people recover – an investment which represents an increase of over 20 per cent since 2006/07.
“While the latest statistics indicate a reducing trend of drug use amongst young people and adults, we know that problem drug use remains a significant problem to be addressed.
“Our Naloxone programme is world leading. Naloxone offers the chance to save a life, and sends a clear message to individuals that their lives matter.
“It is not the solution to drug related deaths, but it is an important intervention, within a range of available treatment and support, which can help reduce harm, encourage engagement with drug services and support people towards recovery.
“I know from meeting those who work with people at risk that Naloxone is viewed as an important intervention which can and does save lives. In coming years, our robust monitoring programme will give a clear indication of the role it can play.”
In its report considering the use of Naloxone, published in May 2012, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended to the UK Government that “Naloxone should be made more widely available, to tackle the high numbers of fatal opioid overdoses in the UK”.
Andrew McAuley, Public Health Adviser for Substance Misuse, NHS Health Scotland said:
“The Scottish national naloxone programme, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, is an important development in preventing future drug-related deaths in some of the most vulnerable individuals in our society. The results published today highlight the strong progress achieved in implementing the programme across the country, with lives saved already in the first full year.
“The commitment shown from a range of stakeholders at policy, practice and service-user level has been fundamental to this success to date and will continue to be key as the programme develops over time.”
The full publication can be accessed here.
The Scottish Government is investing £1m from 2010/11 to 2012/13 to roll out the national naloxone programme across Scotland.
The funding has also been used to establish a national monitoring programme, which will in time provide a more detailed picture of how many times Naloxone is being used and the lives it is saving.
Approximately 40,000 individuals have received specialist assessments for their drug use and care needs between 2007/08 and 2010/11, while significantly faster access to drug treatment is being delivered. Latest statistics show that 86.6 per cent of people are seen within three weeks of referral, on track for the 90 per cent target in March 2013.