Overdose Awareness

Naloxone saves lives

Studies suggest that overdose is the leading cause of death amongst drug users.  Aberdeen City alone has had twenty nine drug related deaths since January this year which is the equivalent amount for the whole of last year.  This increase appears to be a national trend and the reasons for the increase are undoubtedly complex and multi-faceted. 

What we do know is that more males than females are involved in drug related deaths and, despite the stories that are portrayed by the media about young people being at risk of overdose, the majority of overdoses happen to individuals who are older and more experienced drug users; often people who have ten to fifteen years’ experience of using drugs.

Drug related deaths of any nature have a massive effect not only on the individual who may lose their life, but on their families, friends and the whole community.

In acknowledgement of International Overdose Awareness Day DA wishes to highlight a part of the work we do to try and prevent overdose and reduce the number of drug related deaths in Grampian.

The Scottish Government’s Take Home Naloxone Programme

Naloxone is a drug that temporarily reverses the effects of opiate drugs such as methadone and heroin. In an overdose situation naloxone essentially buys the person who is overdosing more time. Naloxone works by blocking the opiate receptors in the brain for twenty to thirty minutes. This time allows the person to receive further medical treatment if necessary.

When naloxone is administered quickly it can save lives. 

Research has sadly indicated that often by the time the ambulance arrives at the scene of an overdose it is too late for paramedics to help the person who is overdosing. The programme provides training to those who are most likely to witness overdose so that they can quickly recognising the signs and symptoms. The training teaches people how to respond to an overdose should they be in such a situation. This element of the training involves learning basic life support such as how to call an ambulance, the recovery position, CPR and naloxone administration. Most importantly, once a person has completed the training, they are given their own supply of naloxone so that should be faced with a situation where it needs to be administered they know they have it.

ADA offers Naloxone training to anyone who is using drugs, their families and friends as well as other professionals in our community. The training is quite straightforward and can take as little as ten minutes to complete.

After completing the Naloxone Training a parent who experienced bereavement as a result of a drugs overdose commented:

“Friends can administer naloxone, which gives medical help time to reach you. My child died all alone in a hallway after a drug overdose. Life will never be the same again for myself and my family. Please take the help (naloxone training) being offered by ADA.”

If you would like to know more about what ADA can offer or about how to get Naloxone training then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For more information on International Overdose Awareness Day you can visit http://www.overdoseday.com/