A Lifesaver Comes To Sefton

The lifesaving drug Naloxone could soon be more readily available to residents of supported housing services in Sefton. A recent change in the law means that Naloxone, an antidote to heroin overdose, could soon be in every hostel in the Borough.

Under previous legislation, only a hostel’s doctor or residents’ GPs could prescribe Naloxone to individuals at risk, whilst those in treatment could be prescribed it from their drug treatment service. But, from the 1st October this year, Naloxone will more readily available for those that need it.

This relaxation of restrictions on the availability of Naloxone could help save lives in Sefton. The drug has no abuse potential, is harmless to someone who doesn’t use opiates, doesn’t give a ‘high’ and is not addictive, but can reverse a heroin overdose.

The change in the law will mean workers at drug treatment services are now able to supply the drug, without a prescription, to anyone needing it to reverse a heroin overdose and save lives. This means that Naloxone could be prescribed to a named person in a hostel.

Naloxone can now be supplied to:

  • Someone who is using or has previously used opiates (illicit or prescribed) and is at potential risk of overdose.
  • A carer, family member or friend who is liable to be on-hand in case of overdose.
  • A named individual in a hostel, which could be a manager or other member of staff.

In short, a drug treatment service could supply Naloxone to an individual in a hostel, such as the manager. The hostel manager could then arrange for the Naloxone to be available for staff or resident use in case of an overdose on the premises.

Overdose deaths in England rose by a third (32%) in 2013, according to the Office of National Statistics. However, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland already have a national take home naloxone programmes that have contributed to deaths remaining static in Wales and actually falling in Scotland, reported the Naloxone Action Group (NAG).

Sefton Supported Housing Group is now planning to have Naloxone readily available to all residents who may be at risk of overdose.