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More than 9,000 life-saving overdose treatment kits handed out

Some 9,006 take-home Naloxone kits were distributed to Scots in the final three months of 2021 (Jane Barlow/PA)
Some 9,006 take-home Naloxone kits were distributed to Scots in the final three months of 2021 (Jane Barlow/PA)

More than 9,000 kits containing a life-saving treatment for drug overdoses were handed out to Scots over three months last year.

Official figures show that between October 1 and December 31, 9,006 take-home Naloxone kits were distributed.

Naloxone reverses the effects of a potentially fatal overdose from drugs such as heroin and morphine.

The treatment was rolled out in response to Scotland’s drug death crisis, which saw 1,339 people losing their lives in 2020.

The administration of Naloxone provides time for emergency services to arrive and provide further treatment.

Naloxone nasal spray
The treatment reverses the effects of a potentially fatal overdose from drugs such as heroin and morphine (Jane Barlow/PA)

In the three months covered by Tuesday’s report, 6,656 kits were distributed by community services.

Community supplies included 2,989 kits issued by non-drug treatment services – of which 92% were supplied by Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs.

A further 1,465 kits were dispensed by community pharmacies, 521 by prisons and 339 by the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said: “Naloxone is one of a wide range of measures being used to address the public health emergency of drugs deaths and I welcome the rise in the number of take-home naloxone kits being distributed in Scotland.

“The statistics show that between October and December last year there were 9,006 take-home naloxone kits issued, the largest amount in any calendar quarter since the programme began.

“Of those, 6,656 kits were distributed by services based in the community – reflecting our action to increase the supply of naloxone through amended prosecution guidelines from the Lord Advocate during the pandemic.

“That guidance allowed a wide range of non-drug services to distribute naloxone to members of the public including family and friends of those who are at risk and we are currently working with UK Government to amend existing naloxone legislation and expand the list of services that should permanently be allowed to distribute naloxone.

“Last year we launched a nationwide marketing campaign in partnership with Scottish Drugs Forum to encourage the public to learn how to recognise the signs of a drug overdose, receive training in the use of the life-saving medication naloxone and get a free naloxone kit.

“Almost 4,500 people signed up which is really encouraging and emphasises that everyone can get involved in learning how to save a life.”