More Aberdeen City Council staff will be invited to learn how to administer a drug used to save the lives of those who have overdosed.
The local authority’s staff governance committee agreed unanimously to back the move for frontline workers in certain areas to have Naloxone kits for either them or the public to use.
Naloxone can be used when someone has overdosed on opiates such as methadone, heroin, fentanyl and codeine and is identical to kit carried by ambulance staff.
Naloxone kits.Until last year, only specialised drug treatment services were able to distribute Naloxone kits to people concerned about overdose.
However, the Lord Advocate issued a statement that said for the period of disruption caused by Covid-19, any individual working for a service registered with the Scottish Government is able, without prosecution, to supply Naloxone to another person for use in an emergency to save a life. This allows non-drug treatment services to distribute Naloxone.
Aberdeen City Council will implement a “test of change” within identified priority geographical areas to increase Naloxone kits distributed to members of the public via council services, increase the number of employees able to access the kits for distribution, and seek volunteers from staff working in priority areas to undertake training to administer it to individuals suspected of a drug overdose.
The council’s staff governance committee convener councillor Yvonne Allan said: “This is an important step in helping to prevent deaths by drug overdosing and I welcome the committee’s decision today.
“We look forward to hearing updates on the scheme to the committee.”
The report to the committee said in 2019, 38 opioid overdose-related deaths were recorded in Aberdeen, 2,600 people are currently estimated to use opioid drugs problematically and in the first three months of 2021, there has been a significant increase in suspected drug-related deaths with upwards of 10 in the month of March alone.
Increasing the distribution of Naloxone, with the aim of reducing the number of fatal drug-related overdoses, is one of the main priorities of the national Drug Death Task Force. This is also recognised through the priorities of Community Planning Aberdeen and the City’s Alcohol and Drugs Partnership.