Blenheim have been working with a number of organisations to develop a campaign under the banner of Naloxone Action Group England (NAG England).
The aim is to try and ensure that naloxone (the medicine that reverses opiate overdoses) is more widely available among those most at risk, their friends, family and first responders. Over half of the overdose deaths last year were as a result of heroin and other opioid drugs. Many may have been avoided had naloxone been more widely available.
The government have asked the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to introduce new national guidelines which should make wider prescribing of naloxone easier, and these are expected to come into force in October 2015. However NAG England are worried that local areas aren’t using the flexibilities that already exist, and that localism will get in the way of what the rest of the UK has already achieved – national take home naloxone programmes.
NAG England are calling for:
- The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to publish their draft regulations on naloxone now;
- The Department of Health to implement a national programme to ensure that take-home naloxone is made available to those vulnerable to, or likely to be present during an, opioid overdose;
- Public Health England to make every effort to encourage local authority areas to make the availability of naloxone and accompanying training a priority, and to monitor and report on activity;
- Public health teams in local authorities to commission services in line with the recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the ACMD on the community management of overdose. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) have specifically recommended that people likely to witness an opioid overdose should have access to naloxone and be instructed in its administration, to enable them to use it for the emergency management of suspected opioid overdose.
Find out more, and stay in touch with NAG England, here.
Download Naloxone Key Facts document.