Community pharmacies across Scotland are being provided with a drug which can reverse overdoses.
The Scottish Government said all community pharmacies will now hold two Naloxone kits, which can be used to reverse opioid overdoses.
Drugs and alcohol policy minister Elena Whitham said it “provides a substantial increase in life-saving emergency access”.
The Scottish Government is providing £300,000 of funding for the Emergency Access Naloxone Scheme.
The move follows thousands of Police Scotland offices being given the kits, which have already been used to save lives.
Police involved in the scheme have been given individual pouches containing Naloxone nasal spray to be worn as part of their standard issue equipment.
Scotland’s drug death rate remains the highest in Europe, despite National Records of Scotland statistics in August indicating drug deaths in 2022 had fallen to their lowest since 2017, to 1,051.
The following month Scottish Government figures indicated suspected drug deaths rose in the first six months of 2023, with 600 such fatalities between January to June – 7% higher than the same time in 2022.
Ms Whitham said: “Through our national mission to reduce drug deaths and harms, we have invested more than £3 million in widening access to Naloxone, including through our emergency services.
“Police Scotland recently completed a force-wide rollout to 12,500 officers who have used the kits more than 300 times and, according to the most recent statistics, 70% of those who are at risk of opioid overdose are being provided with a lifesaving kit.
“However, we want to do even more. This new, nationwide service is a welcome addition to existing services.
“It provides a substantial increase in life-saving emergency access and I’m grateful to all those in community pharmacies who are supporting our £250 million national mission to reduce drug deaths.”
Matt Barclay, incoming chief executive officer of Community Pharmacy Scotland (CPS), said: “CPS is pleased to have community pharmacy participating in delivering this key role to support a reduction in drug deaths across Scotland.
“It once again sees community pharmacy at the heart of the community, delivering care for the citizens of Scotland.”
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