Regulation relaxed for emergency naloxone supply during COVID-19

 

It has been announced that there will be a widening of the availability of overdose reversal drug Naloxone while measures to tackle coronavirus remain in place.

 

The Lord Advocate has confirmed that for the duration of this crisis it would not be in the public interest to prosecute any individual working for a service registered with the Scottish Government who supplies naloxone in an emergency, to save a life.

 

Under existing UK legislation, supplies of naloxone can be held by non-drug treatment services for use in an emergency, but not for onward distribution. In the current crisis, it has been decided that this could present an obstacle to people receiving the treatment that they need.

 

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport Jeane Freeman commented:

 

“We’ve already announced a number of measures to ensure that treatment and support services are not disrupted, during this crisis.  As part of that, we have increased the availability of naloxone – a medication which reverses opiate overdose.

 

“Under existing UK legislation, supplies of naloxone can be held by non-drug treatment services for use in an emergency, but not for onward distribution.  In the current crisis that could present an obstacle to people receiving the treatment that they need.

 

“So that’s why the Lord Advocate has confirmed that for the duration of this crisis it would not be in the public interest to prosecute any individual working for a service registered with the Scottish Government who supplies naloxone in an emergency, to save a life.

 

“I hope that statement provides confidence and certainty to relevant professionals, as they carry out their important work.  And I hope it will further ensure that people can get the treatment they need when they need it.

 

Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

 

“I welcome the Lord Advocate’s statement of prosecution policy in respect of the distribution of naloxone during the period of disruption caused by COVID-19. This will help to ensure that we can continue to support those affected by drug use and keep them safe.”

 

 

This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.

 

 

 

Paramedics to supply take home naloxone

 

 

Paramedics are to supply to patients at risk of an opiate overdose take-home naloxone as part of a pilot scheme in Glasgow.

 

The three-month trial will see those treated by paramedics for a non-fatal overdose who decline to attend hospital, and their friends and family, given a naloxone kit – which temporarily reverses the effect of an opioid overdose.

 

Training will be given on how to use the medication in the hope that it can be used by in the event of any future overdose witnessed by the individual before the ambulance arrives, reducing the risk of potential death.

 

The pilot has been funded by Scotland’s Drug Deaths Taskforce.

 

Public Health Minister, Joe FitzPatrick, said:

 

“This pilot scheme is one of a range of actions the Drug Deaths Taskforce is taking to address the public health emergency Scotland faces in terms of drug-related deaths.

 

“We know from the evidence that having naloxone available can and does save lives, but we also know from our database that around half of those whose death was drug-related had also suffered a non-fatal overdose at some point.

 

“Supplying naloxone kits through our teams of paramedics following a non-fatal overdose is just one more important action we can take to provide support to people at a time of crisis.”

 

Scottish Ambulance Service medical director, Jim Ward, said:

 

”We are committed to improving outcomes for all patients and our paramedics and ambulance clinicians often respond to emergencies to treat people who are experiencing an accidental overdose from drug use.

 

“This is a vital project that has the potential to help save lives – we are pleased that we will be on the front line in efforts to cut the death rate in Scotland from drug overdose, by offering this additional patient safety intervention.”

 

Scottish Drugs Forum’s Strategy Coordinator for Drug Death Prevention and lead of the Scottish National Naloxone Programme. Kirsten Horsburgh, said:

 

“This is a welcome development to Scotland’s national naloxone programme. SDF has advocated for ambulance service involvement in distributing kits for some time, due to the elevated risk of a drug-related death following a near-fatal overdose.

 

“SDF have provided training and guidance for this pilot, which will involve paramedics supplying take-home naloxone kits to people who decline a transfer to hospital and also to those who are present at the scene, such as family members and friends.

 

“The provision of naloxone is only a small, but essential, part of an effective response to Scotland’s drug deaths crisis where the majority of fatalities involve opiates. Without the availability of naloxone, it is highly likely that the number of people dying from preventable overdoses would be even higher.”

 

Innovative pharmacy technician tackles opioid crisis

Alyssa Stanlake

 

Alyssa Stanlake is a Canadian pharmacy technician who works as an operations manager in a community pharmacy in Whistler. Alyssa works for Pier Health, a community pharmacy which specialises in supporting people who have an addiction and mental health problems.

 

She was awarded the honour of Canadian Pharmacy Technician of the Year 2018 after being nominated by her employer.

 

In the relatively short time that Alyssa has worked for them as operations manager, she has introduced a scheme whereby patients and residents can access naloxone kits free of charge. She has also instigated training so that everyone who has a kit knows how to use it.

 

Alyssa explained to me how she has saved many lives and educated a community as a consequence of this project.

 

If you prefer to never miss an episode you can subscribe on your preferred podcast platform. Just click on the links below to get going.

 

AnchoriTunesGoogle PodcastsSpotifyBreakerOvercastPocketCastsRadio PublicPodbeanStitcher