Record number of Scots 'overdose reversal kits' issued

Drug user injecting heroin Figures from the NHS show that 3,833 overdose reversal kits were issued last year

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Health groups issued a record number of "take home" overdose reversal kits last year in a bid to cut drug-related deaths among addicts in Scotland.

The kits allow overdosing addicts to be injected with the drug naloxone, which works by temporarily blocking the effect of the opiate drug taken.

Emergency services then have more time to respond and treat the addict.

New figures show 3,833 kits were issued in 2012-2013 - up 375 or 11% on the first year of the programme in 2011-12.

'Important intervention'

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce a national naloxone programme in November 2010.

The programme is centrally co-ordinated and funded by the Scottish government, and administered locally by the Scottish Drugs Forum, alcohol and drug partnerships and health boards.

Commenting on the new figures at the New Horizons Project in Easterhouse, Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham said the government was "determined to tackle" the issue of drug-related deaths and the naloxone programme was "a key part of this".

She said: "While not a solution to drug deaths in itself, this programme is an important intervention within a range of available treatment and support, which can help reduce harm and support people towards recovery.

"That is why we are committed to increasing the availability of take-home naloxone kits and undertaking robust monitoring and evaluation to enable us to measure the effectiveness of this programme in the longer term."

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