Naloxone is a medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose very quickly.
The Government is currently considering routinely issuing front-line workers with a life-saving medication that can quickly reverse opioid drug overdoses.
Time is often critical in opioid overdoses as be fatal in a relatively short time period. This is because opioids reduce the body’s respiratory drive leading to hypoxia and then cardiac arrest.
Naloxone is a medicine that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose very quickly. The drug can either be inhaled or given via a quick-pen style injection similar to adrenaline.
The consultation, launched today, looks to amend current regulations in order to allow naloxone to be supplied and administered by a wider group of people regularly coming into contact with drug users.
In the US, naloxone is routinely held by front-line emergency workers and even prescribed to patients at risk of opioid overdose. Its use in the UK is currently restricted to healthcare professionals.
Police officers, prison officers, and pharmacists are among the professions that would be given access to the drug able to help save the lives of people suffering an overdose.
Paramedics already routinely use the medication in instances where an overdose is suspected.
Drug-related deaths have doubled since 2012 with the latest statistics showing record numbers of opiate-related deaths across the United Kingdom.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid said: “Drug misuse destroys lives and has a devastating impact on people’s health, their livelihoods and their families.
“To prevent people dying from drug abuse we need to make sure the right treatment and medicines are available, which is why we’re launching this consultation on naloxone today.
“This Government is committed to tackling drug misuse and saving lives, including through our new Joint Combating Drugs Unit and an ambitious new strategy.”