Two-thirds of ambulance clinicians in Scotland have now been trained in supplying members of the public with a treatment that can reverse the effects of a drugs overdose.
Ambulance workers are supplying about 80 take-home naloxone kits a day to those at risk of overdosing, and their families.
Naloxone has been described by the NHS as “medication which temporarily blocks the effects of opiate drugs such as heroin or methadone”.
The rollout is being funded by the Scottish Government’s Drug Deaths Taskforce – which was set up to tackle the crisis.
Annual statistics on the number of drug-related deaths recorded in Scotland will be released on Friday.
It will reveal how many people lost their lives as a result of drug use in 2020.
Dundee is Scotland’s drugs deaths capital
Last year’s report – which was delayed until later in the year – showed a record number of drugs deaths in Dundee, with 72 recorded in the city for 2019.
The City of Discovery also came top of the list for drug deaths per capita, ahead of Glasgow.
The distribution of naloxone is the latest effort in the government’s push to decrease deaths from overdoses.
Training has ‘saved many lives’
Angela Constance, minister for drugs policy, said: “I want to thank the Scottish Ambulance Service for the amazing job they do every day to save lives.
“The rollout of naloxone training has no doubt resulted in many lives being saved.
“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.
“Of course, we want to help people long before they get to the point of a life-threatening overdose.
“We are working hard to increase the number of people in treatment.
“£4 million is going specifically towards the implementation of the new medication assisted treatment standards which ensure everyone has access to the support which works best for them.
“Same-day support will begin to be rolled out from this autumn with all of the standards in place by April next year.
“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 to all those affected by drug use in Scotland.”