People affected by drug use are being asked for their views on who should be able to supply and administer a life-saving medication.
Services and individuals who are likely to witness a drugs overdose have been urged to take part in a UK-wide consultation on expanding the use of naloxone.
Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose and can help to prevent overdose deaths.
The consultation is seeking to gather views in considering whether proposals to expand the list of services and individuals that can give it out without a prescription or other written instruction are viable.
It comes after drugs deaths in Scotland hit a record high, with 1339 drug-related deaths recorded in 2020.
During the pandemic, families in Scotland of those who use drugs, as well as a wide range of professionals who work in non-drugs services, have been allowed to legally supply take-home naloxone kits to anyone likely to witness an overdose.
It was made possible after a change in guidelines issued by the Lord Advocate.
Usually, naloxone is only legally available across the UK on prescription or from certain drug treatment services without a prescription.
Scotland’s drugs policy minister Angela Constance urged people to take the opportunity to have their say.
“We are pleased to be part of this UK wide consultation but we are anxious to see what is being proposed go further to allow not just drug and emergency services to legally supply naloxone, but also non-drugs services, families of those affected by drug use, and anyone else who is likely to witness an overdose,” she said.
“We have called on the UK Government to make these changes permanent ensuring all people who need it have access to this life saving drug.
“So I am asking all those affected by drug use, whether you use drugs, have a family member who does, or you have contact with someone at risk, through your work to please take the opportunity to have your say.”
Constance said she is determined that additional funding to address the drugs crisis will make a difference.
“Naloxone is one of a wide range of measures being used to address the public health emergency of drugs deaths, but it plays an important role and allows those supplying the kits to connect people who use drugs and their families with appropriate local services,” she added.
“Seeing those services and individuals being unable to continue to access the medication would be truly devastating.
“Over the next five years we will spend £250m on addressing this crisis and I am determined that every penny of this additional funding will make a difference.”
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