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Adviser backs naloxone injections for heroin addicts


Heroin addicts who have overdosed should be given a ‘magic medicine’ to bring them back to life, the chief drugs adviser to the government has said.

Professor Les Iversen said an injection of naloxone could save hundreds of drugs users’ lives.

At present, laws are thwarting attempts to roll out naloxone across the UK, because as an injectable medicine, it must be prescribed to a particular individual.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has appealed to the regulatory authorities to classify the medicine in the same bracket as diabetes drugs, which significant others are allowed to administer if the person who has collapsed is not able to do so.

Prof Iversen said: “If you make a prescription to a person, and that person keels over, they’re not in any position to inject themselves.

“They’re going to have to be injected by someone who’s a friend or a family member who’s been trained in the use of the rescue medication.

“A heroin overdose person could keel over and go into a coma and a single injection of naloxone can bring them back to life again. It is really a magic medicine.”


Readers' comments (2)

  • Th Scottish Government is currently funding Naloxone and the training is being rolled out to prisoners within all Scottish prisons at present. During the teaching sessions prisoners who are deemed high risk of overdose on liberation are given a training on how to administer Naloxone and Basic Life Saving skills and are then given a Naloxone pack on leaving custody.
    Obviously the prescription is in the prisoners name but they are being advised to use this on any individual in an overdose situation.

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  • I see no reason that the administration of naloxone should not be witheld from individuals who have OD'd on heroin - it must be comparable to the use of an epi-pen for use in patients with acute anaphylaxis.

    For prison staff who are concerned about its use - would a pgd be applicable?

    Surely to withold its administration would be negligent.

    Mike Paynter
    Somerset Community Health

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