Scottish firefighters to carry naloxone

Firefighters are being offered the chance to become trained and equipped to help prevent drug deaths across Scotland.

They will be able to volunteer to carry naloxone as part of a £90,000 project funded by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will join the Scottish Ambulance Service and Police Scotland in recognising the role the medication can play in saving lives.

A naloxone information pack will be available to all SFRS staff. Firefighters who volunteer to undergo training to carry and deploy naloxone will be given guidance on how to identify the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and how to use the medication to reverse these effects.

The Service will seek volunteers from around the country to create a wide network of staff who are able to administer naloxone.

During a visit to Bathgate Community Fire Station, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I want to thank the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for the incredible job they do every day to save lives.

“SFRS staff regularly interact with the public during operational incidents, prevention and protection work and community engagement and it is reassuring to know that if they come across a situation involving an opioid overdose that volunteers will be able to administer naloxone while they wait for an ambulance to arrive.

“Naloxone is one of a wide range of measures being used to address the public health emergency of drugs deaths, but it plays an important role and allows those administering the kits to connect people who use drugs and their families with appropriate local services.

“Of course, we want to help people long before they get to the point of a life-threatening overdose and we are working hard to increase the number of people in treatment backed by total funding of £250 million over five years.”

Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens is the SFRS Director of Service Delivery. He said:

“We welcome funding from the Scottish Government to provide life-saving medication for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“We will fully support volunteers within SFRS to complete training to safely administer naloxone to help prevent avoidable drug deaths from overdoses. This project highlights our commitment to working with partners to improve the safety and wellbeing of the people of Scotland.”

SFRS Group Commander Paul Blackwood decided to carry naloxone after a personal tragedy. He said:

“I grew up in Glasgow and I lost my best friend at the age of 19 from a drugs overdose. This traumatic experience has stayed with me and so it was important for me to volunteer to carry naloxone. I have the kit because I want to be in a position to save someone’s life.”

Elements of this story have been shared under the Open Government license.

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