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Harm Reduction

Naloxone training programme and distribution

Harm Reduction

In early August we received information that the heroin in South Tyneside may be either stronger than usual or cut with other substances that increases risk of overdose. In line with national data we have seen an increase in drug related deaths in South Tyneside recently. We have responded with our campaign to raise awareness and prevent future deaths. We developed information for service users to alert them to the fact there may be high strength heroin in circulation and provided one to one harm reduction interventions at every consultation.

A small group of staff worked together to produce a training programme, which was delivered on 12th August, to raise awareness of opioid overdose. At the training, which was supported by South Tyneside's Strategic Lead for Substance Misuse, we provided naloxone kits to Service Users and a small number of staff working into hostel type accommodation. This was a project we had started to develop for later in the year, however worked hard to bring it forward to ensure we were responsive to the current risks. We are now looking at how we will roll the programme out to a wider audience.

Naloxone is widely promoted since the changes in the law last October, making it easier to distribute to those who are most likely to need it. It is provided as a simple to use injection to reverse the effects of opioid overdose.