Friday, November 22, 2019

England: Naloxone that reverses overdose effect will be distributed on the streets from this Monday

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Pilot project will be carried out on the streets of Cleveland and Redcar, UK. Naloxone will be distributed on the streets to combat high numbers of overdose deaths.

It’s a kind of counter-drug: a life-saving medicine that reverses the effect of an opioid overdose like heroin and is about to be made available in the UK to combat the high numbers of drug-related deaths in the country. At stake is a pilot project, which will start this Monday in Redcar and Cleveland, in the north-east of the United Kingdom, which aims to distribute this drug on the streets where there is more registration of addicts.

The immediate effect of overdosing is slowing of breathing. It is precisely the effect that the new drug (naloxone) aims to reverse, helping to keep breathing controlled. Most people who access to this substance today are drug addicts seeking help, accessing treatment and rehabilitation, but that does not solve the problem, as the vast majority of overdose deaths occur on the streets. The idea now is precisely to make this medicine accessible on the streets, like SOS.

Naloxone will be distributed on the streets to combat high numbers of overdose deaths

According to August data from the British National Institute of Statistics, 4,359 people died of an overdose in England in 2018, which is the highest since 1993, when these records began. Moreover, half or more deaths related to opioid abuse, such as heroin.

The pilot project will be launched by Addaction, a British charity that supports behavioral changes related to substance abuse. Addaction officials Gary Besterfield, states that “all drug-related deaths are tragic and each death is preventable. It’s time for us to do something: too many families in Redcar and Cleveland have lost their loved ones because of drug use”.

“4,359 people died of an overdose in England in 2018, which is the highest since 1993” – British National Institute of Statistics

Besterfield argued that “the opportunity to use naloxone for people who can go to rehab”. As early as next week, the idea is to get people on the streets handing out naloxone to opioid users and explaining how to use it. The pilot program is expected to run for 12 weeks, will be supported by local police, and then exported to other regions of the country.

Northern England has the highest numbers of drug abuse deaths. 96.3 deaths per million people are drug-related, while in London the number drops to 39.4.

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