New drug overdose prevention programme

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The Scottish Government’s national programme to reduce the risk of fatal overdose from opiate drugs such as heroin or methadone by providing drug users with a ‘take home’ kit.

The scheme increases the availability of the drug called Naloxone to those who need it.

The drug is given by injection and works by temporarily blocking the effect of the opiate drug and so it can reverse the effects of an overdose.

Dr Mike Kehoe, consultant psychiatrist with the Borders Addiction Service said: “The aim of this programme is quite simply to save lives.

“For every person who dies through overdose, there are family and friends who share that tragedy.

“Overdose from opiates like heroin is not uncommon. Opiate drugs slow the respiratory system down and an overdose can stop someone breathing completely. Many overdose casualties die before an ambulance can reach them.

“Naloxone will temporarily reverse the effects of the opiate, allowing more time for the emergency services to reach them.”

The kits are being made available at drop-in clinics run by NHS Borders and the Big River Project.

The clinics are open to opiate drug users and opiate substitute users and their families and friends and they will be given advice and instruction on using the kits.

Naloxone is available to anyone over the age of 16 years who is at risk of opiate overdose whether or not they are currently receiving any kind of treatment.

Anyone wanting to obtain a kit can just turn up between 1pm – 3pm every Friday at Big River Project at 79 High Street, Galashiels.

Other clinics will be arranged around the Borders and details are available from NHS Borders Addiction Service on 01896 664430 or on Facebook at Borders Naloxone