Published on: March 27, 2023
Our staff in Warwickshire working with children and young people who have drug and alcohol issues are now carrying life saving Naloxone kits when meeting clients.
Although relatively common for adult drug and alcohol services, the step is rare for young people’s services.
Stuart Haste, service manager at Warwickshire Children and Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Service, CYPDAS, said his outreach staff had undergone training in the use of the injectable device which can reverse the life threatening effects of an opioid overdose.
He said: “I have been a harm reduction advocate for naloxone for over 20 years and I asked for the re-fresh of Compass’s policy and for staff to carry naloxone whist working, also to start distribution.
“I am very happy that CYPDAS has been able to secure funding for the distribution of Naloxone and Nyxoid Nasal.”
The service is promoting the use of Naloxone to all outreach staff and they will in turn always carry two Naloxone kits with them, (one nasal and one injectable) during working hours.
Training in its use was provided by Stuart, CGL and by Ethypharm, the UK manufacturer of Naloxone.
He said: “Quite simply, we want to save their lives. We can education clients about the harms and risk of opioid use, mixing of drugs and opiates mixed with adulterants or other stronger synthetic opiates. That compass is able to distribute Naloxone to support its community.”
Robyn Fisher, at CYPDAS, explained: “Naloxone itself is a medication that washes out the opioid receptors. So if somebody has taken an overdose of an opioid such as heroin, we can give the injection and it pushes the heroin out of the receptors and it brings that person out of the overdose very quickly, essentially saving their life, giving them time for the ambulance crew to get to where they are, to be able to take over.
“I carry Naloxone out of work just in case it’s needed. We assess each client and any that may benefit from carrying naloxone. We teach them how to use it, make sure they understand it and hand it out to them.”
Each injectable kit has five doses.
“We would teach the person to just give one dose at a time. But if adrenaline kicks in and they weren’t able to do that and they did the whole lot, that’s okay and it won’t cause any harm.”
“We have got lots and lots of kit, so if anyone needs a replacement, they can have one straight away, no problem.”
And Robyn is keen to train other young people who are not clients in the use of the kits.
She said: “If they tell us that they’ve got friends that would like to carry it, I would be more than happy to sit and teach them as well, because the more people that have it, the more you could save. I think this is vitally important for our young people. It’s such a simple thing and it does save lives.
She said young people were unaware that drug dealers are including opiates in their sales.
And she added: “Getting that harm reduction advice out to them, making them aware of the dangers if they do get into trouble, how they can save themselves and their friends is very important.”