Over 500 life-saving kits that reverse effects of heroin handed out in Dundee

Dave Barrie with a Naloxone kit which is used to tackle overdoses.

A kit that is being used in the fight to stop people dying from drugs overdoses could have saved as many as 40 lives in Dundee during the last year, an addiction charity has said.

More than 500 take-home Naloxone kits were handed out in the city, including more than 40 repeat supplies as a result of use in overdose situations.

Naloxone is injected and immediately reverses the effects of opioids such as heroin and methadone.

And according to Dave Barrie — service manager at Addaction — these devices are having a positive impact in the city.

He said: “Although an overdose is not always fatal, any could be, and repeat supplies show the kits are saving lives.

A close up of one of the kits.
A close up of one of the kits.

“Despite this, the number of drug-related deaths still rose.

“There has been a mixed reaction as well, particularly battling the stigma that surrounds Naloxone — people relate it to intravenous drug use and avoid it.

“But people overdose regardless of the drug-taking method and we have tried to get that message across.”

Austin Smith, of the Scottish Drugs Forum, said: “The number of kits supplied in Tayside has risen considerably from a fairly low base.”

Data released by the Information Services Division Scotland showed that the use of Naloxone has increased year on year in the region.

Mr Barrie said: “Tayside has outdone the targets and I think this programme is essential because it saves lives.”

Mr Smith added: “There are an estimated 4,600 problem drug users in Tayside. The more kits that are supplied, the more lives we can save.

“The supply and timely administration of Naloxone is a crucial part of our efforts to prevent drug-related deaths and reduce drug harms.

“Recent changes in the law mean that supplies can be made by a wider range of people — this should mean significant increases in the number of kits supplied and lives saved in Tayside and across Scotland in the future.”