Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. This global event is held on 31 August each year. Its aim is to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges that grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose.
Back in May, we were approached by the Scottish Drugs Forum to talk about the possibility of offering a take-home naloxone service. We have always supported this programme, so we were more than happy to provide this service. Our take-home naloxone ‘click & deliver’ service went live on 22nd May 2020 and so far have provided 86 kits across Scotland.
One of the people who has used our naloxone service is Eilidh. Eilidh has so far used our service six times since May. Each kit she has ordered has been used on another person, as in her line of work, she often sees people who may have overdosed and who need help. We reached out to Eilidh and asked if she could answer some questions for us on why she carries naloxone.
Q: Why do you carry naloxone?
‘I carry naloxone because I work in a retail outlet where a lot of people who use drugs may pass by or come into the store and years previously, individuals would overdose and it would take some time (up to an hour) to get the appropriate medical help via emergency services.’
Q: Should everyone carry naloxone?
‘I do believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to carry naloxone, however, there is still a lot of ignorance and stigma attached to drug addiction. I don’t believe everyone should be forced to carry naloxone, but for it to be accessible for those who want to do it.’
Q: Why is it important to know how to help someone who may overdose?
‘Naloxone is a vitally important lifesaving drug and this can often be the fine line between living and dying.’
Q: Tell us a time when you have used naloxone?
‘One of the most recent occasions that I’ve used naloxone was when two young teenagers found an individual completely unresponsive. The individual had stopped breathing, so naloxone was administered and myself and colleagues were prepared to administer CPR if needed. Thankfully, this individual was taken to hospital and received further treatment but unfortunately, this individual has overdosed massively since and refuses to engage with any organisation or programme that offers help and support for either fighting addiction or stabilising addiction.’
Q: How has the Scottish Families take-home naloxone programme supported you?
‘The service has been absolutely phenomenal when it comes to supporting individuals who want to gain higher knowledge and how to deal with drug overdose as well as understanding the addiction as a whole.’