A Perth housing support project has become one of the first non-addiction services in the country authorised to provide drugs which could prevent fatal opioid overdoses.
Turning Point Scotland’s Perth and Kinross Floating Housing Support service can now offer training to people at risk of an overdose and supply them with Naloxone.
The medication is virtually side-effect free when taken to to combat opioids such as heroin and temporarily reverses the deadly effects of an overdose.
Services which don’t specialise in addiction have only recently been permitted to provide it to people who may be likely to witness an opioid overdose, as part of measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
The Perth scheme, which supports adults with varying needs within their own homes, is one of the first to take that step. Employees are now authorised to supply the overdose stopper.
Head of alcohol and other drug services for Turning Point Scotland Patricia Tracey said the measure would help to reduce the number of drug deaths locally.
She said: “Since the initial pilot stages and the roll out of the National Naloxone programme in 2011, Turning Point Scotland have strongly supported the use of Naloxone and now welcome its extended provision.
“Care services like our Perth and Kinross Floating Housing Support service can now use it to save lives.”
Turning Point has provided support to people in Scotland with substance misuse issues, mental health problems and learning difficulties since 1999.
The Shore Road-based Perth Floating Housing Support Service was created in 2019. Staff cover all of Perthshire and help service users to develop the skills required to independently keep their tenancies.
Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce a national Naloxone programme and the Scottish Government has invested £1m in it between 2011 and 2016.
More than 46,000 potentially lifesaving take-home kits have been supplied across the country.
The adoption of the scheme in Perth follows trials by Turning Point in Glasgow, Inverness and North Lanarkshire.
The latest move by the organisation’s Perthshire care service follows legal clearance from the Lord Advocate which allows a wider range of services to supply the emergency opioid blocker during the Covid-19 crisis.