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Anti-overdose drug naloxone has been in clinical use since the 1970s but not always where it’s needed most. The Guardian’s Jamie Grierson visited Redcar in North Yorkshire where a group of former drug users provide at-risk people with kits that could save their lives. (Guardian Podcast).
A drug which can reverse the effects of an overdose will be trialled by police in Wales. The North Wales force will train 12 officers in Flintshire to administer Naloxone via a nasal spray in a six-month trial starting in March. Police and crime commissioner Arfon Jones said for officers protecting the public and their welfare it was another “tool in their armoury”.
Drug-related deaths will not come down from record levels unless the government invests in treatment services, experts behind a pioneering project to save lives have said. The most recent official figures show that 4,359 deaths from drug poisoning were recorded in England and Wales in 2018, the highest number since records began in 1993, with around two-thirds attributed to drug misuse.
Under the project, a team of peers – people with lived experience of drug issues – take an intravenously administered medication called naloxone out on to the streets and train members of the community, including active drug users, in how to use it. The main life-threatening effect of an opioid overdose is to slow down or stop breathing. Naloxone blocks this effect and reverses breathing difficulties.
The number of times Northern Ireland’s ambulance service administered a drug to reverse overdoses has risen by 40% since 2017, official figures show. Naloxone, which temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdoses, was administered 876 times in 2019. This is 200 times more than two years ago, according to Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) figures.
We’ve all seen the videos of first responders administering naloxone — a lifesaving drug — to someone overdosing. But what if the person was alone at the time of an overdose? A Northwestern University professor has developed an implantable device that would administer the drug when it senses a person is overdosing.