Naloxone kits and training available to all
Published Thursday, 19th September 2019
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is highlighting the work being done with Naloxone kits and training to avoid drug-related deaths.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist – which means it blocks the body’s receptor sites when someone has taken too much heroin, and buys the person more time until paramedics arrive on site.
Figures released from the Office of National Statistics show since the council, in partnership with Southend Treatment and Recovery Services (STARS), started issuing Naloxone kits in 2015, there has been a steady decrease in the amount of drug-related deaths in Southend-on-Sea, from 47 deaths in 2013-15, to 32 in 2016-18.
It comes nearly three weeks after International Overdose Awareness Day on 31 August, which is held every year to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of drug related death.
Cllr Trevor Harp, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “Any person or organisation who requests the training from STARS will receive it, along with the basic first aid needed to administer the doses. Naloxone doesn’t have any ill effects for those suffering with another condition, it only has an impact on those who are overdosing on heroin, so there is no harm caused by administering it regardless.
“It is a useful tool for first aiders to have, especially people like our outreach workers, who are out talking to people on the streets and are more likely to come across someone in this situation. It buys more time for the emergency services to arrive, and sometimes a close call is what a person needs to seek the help and support to get clean. These kits can save a life, but also it gives people a chance to turn their life around.”
Signs to look for if you suspect someone has overdosed:
- unconsciousness or drowsy, non-responsive behaviour
- unstable vital signs – pulse, blood pressure, unusual breathing
- blue tinge to skin, especially the lips
- drug taking paraphernalia nearby
In the first year (2015/16) 77 Naloxone kits were issued and since then it has risen to 254 in 2018/19. The kits contain a pre-made syringe solution, with five set doses, which is administered through a muscle. If five minutes after the first dose is given, there’s no change, a second dose can be given and so on until the person rouses.
STARS (Southend Treatment and Recovery Service) issue the kits and the training, alongside accompanying basic first aid advice and drug-taking advice. People can self-refer or be referred in by another service. Plus businesses who feel they might benefit from having the kits can also be trained.
Shahida Akram, services manager at Change Grow Live, Southend Treatment and Recovery Service (STARS), said: “Naloxone can save lives, but this will only happen if people are carrying naloxone kits and feel confident to use naloxone when needed. That is why we are prioritising efforts to provide naloxone training to as many people as possible in the community and to increase the availability of naloxone throughout Southend-on-Sea. Our naloxone training is free and open to everyone and we want to train as many people as possible to continue to prevent drug-related deaths in the local area.”
The next Naloxone training session at STARS Southend is on Wednesday 13 November 2019 from 1pm to 2.30pm. To find out more information and book a place, contact STARS on 01702 431889.