National Naloxone Peer Education Programme
The naloxone peer education initiative was established in 2012. The launch took place in three Health Board areas with the aim of expanding the reach of the programme to communities where people were not engaged in treatment or attending services.
The early peer groups demonstrated their credibility and ability to engage with hard to reach groups and Scotland saw an increase in the training and supplies of naloxone to people at risk of opiate overdose within that first year of the programme.
The National Naloxone Training and Support Officer post facilitated the expansion of peer networks across Scotland with the vision of introducing peer networks in each Health Board.
Peer educators are recruited from a variety of services in the community, most have a history of using drugs but in some cases, they are family members who have lost a son or daughter to an overdose.
Peer educators are trained by SDF over four days focusing on different components of the skills and knowledge required to carrying out brief interventions in the community and are supported by face-to-face meetings on a monthly basis.
The addition of prison-based peer networks brought an exciting new dimension to the peer programme. Serving prisoners are recruited and trained similarly to the community networks training however in the prisons this training is condensed into two days with more intensive support offered to networks to increase their skill base and additional knowledge provided to community groups.
Local support is provided by a named service lead in the area, with meetings planned on a regular basis with peers to discuss any training or personal issues that arise. Support as a group or 1-1 is then offered to people depending on the issues raised.
Peer educators have, to date, provided thousands of hours of their own time to help increase the awareness and supplies of naloxone throughout Scotland with several thousand people now having been trained by a naloxone peer educator.
Due to the changes to the regulations in 2015, the next step is to pilot a naloxone peer supply model. This exciting new initiative will be the first of its kind in the UK and is due to be progressed during 2017.