Herts Naloxone ‘Take Home’ programme underway

Ambulance side shot

If you’re a Hertfordshire paramedic, you’re hopefully being made aware about a new programme for opiate drug users in the county.

Since last October, the Spectrum Drug and Alcohol Service has been widely involved in promoting the availability of Naloxone ‘Take Home’ for people at risk of overdose. The kits are issued following training on the management of overdose and use of the kit.

A staple of our emergency drugs bag, Naloxone is an emergency antidote for opiate/opioid overdose that blocks receptors to counteract the effects of drugs such as heroin, methadone and morphine. In this case, it’s being issued to opiate drug users, which can keep them alive in the event of an overdose. It can be supplied to anyone:

  • currently using illicit opiates, such as heroin
  • receiving opioid substitution therapy
  • leaving prison with a history of drug use
  • who has previously used opiate drugs (to protect in the event of relapse).

So far this year, about 400 kits have been given out, and anecdote suggests they are being used successfully. But more are available; if you attend a patient in Hertfordshire for an opiate drug overdose, following treatment you can advise them to speak to the Spectrum Drug and Alcohol Service, to see if they would be eligible for free Naloxone to keep at home.

You may also have patient contact with someone who already has a kit, so it’s important you know what it is, what it looks like and what you do with it.  Naloxone kits are yellow, rectangular, plastic boxes wrapped in a protective cellophane seal to keep the contents sterile and secure. A pre-filled syringe of Naloxone is inside, with two sealed needles and a leaflet. If the syringe contains a liquid of any other colour it is not naloxone (although naloxone liquid has been known to discolour over time).

For more information from Public Health England, please click here.

Published 10th November, 2016

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