All Scottish Ambulance Service crews now trained in distributing Naloxone

A Take Home Nalaxone kit

All active crews at the Scottish Ambulance Service have now been trained to supply life-saving Take Home Naloxone (THN) kits.

Following the completion of the two year naloxone training programme, launched in 2021, 2333 Take Home Naloxone kits (THN) have been distributed by crews. These Naloxone kits, which reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, have been distributed by ambulance clinicians to people at risk of a non-fatal overdose or potential future overdose. They have also been provided to family, friends and service workers who may have to administer naloxone in the future, while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

The successful roll-out of the training programme to distribute the kits has been led by three Clinical Effectiveness Leads for Drug Harm Reduction, covering the North, East and West regions. They have been funded by the Drug Deaths Taskforce, an extension of the Scottish Government’s existing Naloxone Programme.

Over the last two years, SAS has increased its partnership working with health boards and drug treatment and support services, as engagement with these services is a proven protective factor in reducing drug deaths. By creating alternative pathways, patients will receive a referral to follow up after their emergency presentation, to ensure they receive further appropriate care.

A booklet for call handers in SAS’s Ambulance Control Centres has also been developed, which provides an index for common drug terms. This booklet, created in partnership with Public Health Scotland - RADAR, can help call handlers better identify the needs of the patient when taking 999 calls.

Pauline Howie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service said: “We’re proud to have reached our target of training up our operational staff in being able to supply Take-Home Naloxone. Our crews offer a frontline service where they reach into vulnerable communities across Scotland, and this targeted distribution will ensure Naloxone will get into the hands of those who need it most.

“Over the last two years, our three Clinical Effectiveness Leads for Drug Harm Reduction have made huge strides to effect positive change within patient care, and access to treatment for those affected by their use of drugs. This is helping to meet our aims of positively improving health and wellbeing across Scotland.”

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said: “Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce a national Naloxone programme and increasing its provision and availability has been a key priority in our national mission to help save lives. We know that having naloxone available can and does save lives and maximising its availability is a key part of our work to reduce drug related deaths in Scotland.

“The extent of the use of naloxone to prevent deaths illustrates the size of the challenge but also the ambition of the response, including from crucial partners like the Scottish Ambulance Service. We’re focused on supporting those affected by problem substance use, delivering real change on the ground and implementing evidence-based approaches we know can help save lives. We will continue to prioritise the distribution of naloxone and to work with partners, such as the SAS, to ensure that this important work continues and that we can continue to provide support to people at a time of crisis.”

Posted on 21/03/2023