Ruth Maguire Calls for Workers to be Equipped with ‘Overdose Reversing’ Drug

Cunninghame South MSP, Ruth Maguire called for workers who interact with people at risk of opioid overdoses to be equipped with naloxone kits.

Speaking in a debate in The Scottish Parliament on preventing and reducing harm in drug and alcohol abuse, Ruth Maguire MSP echoed the asks put forward by the family reference groups of Scottish Families Affected By Alcohol and Drugs.

Ms Maguire said: “Police, fire, ambulance, homelessness workers, primary care and pharmacy services are well placed to save lives.

“I understand the reticence that some non-healthcare workers may have felt previously, as it used to be the case that naloxone had to be injected, which caused some concern. However, there is now a nasal application, which I hope removes that barrier. Those tasked with protecting lives in Scotland can also be life savers.

“Although I recognise the need for local flexibility, I also concur with the ask that any postcode lottery in provision is removed. If housing officers in Ayrshire can save lives administering naloxone—and they have—those skills, procedures and processes should be replicated across Scotland.”

This came a day after the Minister for Health and Sport, Joe FitzPatrick announced funding for a three-month trial of take-home naloxone kits to be issued to the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The drug, Naloxone, reverses the effects of opioids in the event of an overdose. The Scottish Ambulance Service will be provided with 500 Naloxone kits as part of a three month trial launched by the Drug Death Task Force where paramedics will be able to provide patients at risk of an overdose with the kits to take home.

It was noted that 514 Naloxone kits were distributed in North Ayrshire in 2019 and were reported to have saved 45 lives and that North Ayrshire Council were training additional community development staff to administer Naloxone.

The full debate contribution can be seen below.

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