Middlesbrough drugs overdose kit hailed as 'lifesaver'

image captionThe kits can "save lives in an emergency situation"

Street wardens with drug overdose kits are believed to have helped save the lives of 12 people in Middlesbrough in the past year.

The team engages with addicts and, where needed, can hand out a syringe containing naloxone.

This can help reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, allowing time for medical help to arrive.

Naloxone has long been used by hospitals and paramedics but this brings it straight on to the streets.

Based on population, Middlesbrough has among the highest number of drug-related deaths in the country.

The project, delivered by the peer-led Harm Reduction Unit based at Foundations medical practice, has been running for just over a year.

image captionStreet warden Peter Hilton was thanked after helping one man who had collapsed at the town's bus station

Danny Ahmed, from Foundations, a specialist GP service tackling addiction, said: "You can't recover if you're dead and it's really important that we have access to kits like this that can save lives in an emergency situation.

"So the more people that have access to them, like the street wardens, the more opportunity we have to save that person's life and then hopefully intervene to support them further."

Street warden Peter Hilton recently treated a man who collapsed next to his girlfriend at the town's bus station.

"She was very hysterical, screaming 'can you help him?', so I got my naloxone kit and injected him," he said.

"Three days later, the young man and his girlfriend re-entered the bus station and thanked everybody for what they did.

"So it was an amazing outcome, because he looked really healthy."

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