Drugs: Misuse

Health written question – answered on 25th June 2014.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of take-home naloxone in reducing the number of opiate-related deaths across the UK in conjunction with the training and educational programmes within the prison services.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

From July 2009 to February 2010, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (now part of Public Health England (PHE)) ran a trial at 16 pilot sites around England in which carers and relations of opiate misusers were trained to respond to overdoses and use the antidote naloxone and basic life support techniques.

A report1 on the trial was published in 2011, and it was clear that naloxone appeared to help save lives. The report said that there were 18 overdoses where carers used naloxone and two where they applied basic life support. All the drug users survived the overdose. The trial included people who were about to leave prisons, and the report covers some of the issues around this.

There is currently a trial running on the effectiveness of giving prisoners naloxone when they leave prison, which has yet to report.

Some prisons currently supply prisoners with take-home naloxone as part of their post-release support. PHE does not hold the data centrally.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has recommended that naloxone be made more widely available, and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has undertaken a consultation with the field on implementing this recommendation. There will be no further policy announcements on naloxone until the report on this consultation is published.

1 Full report available at:


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