The NHS’ Information Services Division has released its annual update report on the supply of take-home naloxone in Scotland.
The data shows that 8,397 naloxone kits were issued in 2017/18, an increase of 3% on the previous year. Since 2011/12 46,037 kits have been supplied in Scotland. It is estimated that 23,096 people ‘at risk of opioid overdose’ have been supplied with a kit.
There is some evidence of greater reach – last year, 2,458 kits were issued as a first supply to an individual at risk of opioid overdose.
There is also evidence that naloxone is being used and potentially saving lives. Of the supplies made, 53% (3,996) were repeat supplies – to people who had previously been issued with a kit. 25% of these were made because the previous kit was reported as having been used to treat an opioid overdose. That data suggests that around 1000 potentially fatal overdoses have been reversed using the kits.
Even when the overdose may not have been potentially fatal, early administration of naloxone can have significant outcomes for people in overdose including preventing the damage to the brain caused by a lack of oxygen due to the respiratory depression typical of opioid overdose.