Government plan to roll out overdose antidote welcomed

published on 14 May 2024

The Salvation Army welcomes the Government’s announcement that will enable more professionals to give take-home supplies of Naloxone, a crucial opioid overdose antidote, to individuals at risk and their family and friends. 

This follows campaigning by the church and charity whose staff and Salvation Army officers already use Naloxone to save lives in its homelessness support projects.

Naloxone is safe, simple and effective but up until now there has been a legal restriction on its availability. However, The Salvation Army, which provide addiction treatment and support services, is warning that the roll out must be fully funded and include proper training so people have the confidence to use it. 

Captain Dr Will Pearson, The Salvation Army’s Assistant Director of Addictions, said: “More access to Naloxone will save lives so we are delighted that the Government has listened to the concerns of ourselves and others about the need to expand its availability. With the upcoming wave of new and vastly more dangerous opioid drugs about to hit this country we urge that Naloxone is rolled-out without delay.

“For the increased availability of Naloxone to make a real and effective impact, it must be accompanied by adequate funding, training and support for professionals. Sadly, through our work, we regularly see people overdose. We know that witnessing someone moments from possible death can be shocking and devastating so it’s also essential the Government raises public awareness about Naloxone to give people the confidence to use it.

“We have yet to see the detail of how the expansion of Naloxone will be funded. It’s essential the Naloxone roll out is not taken from money set aside for addiction prevention and support services. That would be the equivalent of parking the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff rather than mending the fence at the top.

“As a provider of addiction services, we have helped thousands of people overcome the harm caused by drugs and rebuild their lives. We take a harm reduction approach, recognising that for many people stopping drug-use is unattainable in the short-term but much can be done to help them to stay safe. 

"We know from our work that the use of drugs is often a way to cope with despair and distress due to trauma, poverty, and a sense of hopelessness. 

"Without also addressing the root causes of addiction the battle against drug-related deaths cannot be won. This is why funding prevention and addiction support is as important as giving people the tools and skills to save someone from a drug related death.”

A female Salvation Army worker with long dark hair, wearing a blue polo shirt sits on a safe in one of our Lifehouses with a man in his 30s. He has short dark hair and is wearing a grey jumper.

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