4th August 2021
An online government consultation has opened to collect views on expanding the use of naloxone.
The consultation is seeking to assess the viability of proposals to widen access to naloxone by expanding the list of services and individuals that can give it out without a prescription or other written instruction.
Naloxone is currently a prescription-only medicine regulated by the Human Medicines Regulations (HMRs). This means that there are controls on who can legally administer, sell, and supply naloxone. However, last year in Scotland the former Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced that “the Lord Advocate has confirmed that – for the duration of this crisis [COVID} – it would not be in the public interest to prosecute any individual – working for a service registered with the Scottish Government – who supplies naloxone… ”.
This development aimed to increase the distribution of naloxone kits by relaxing the rules around who can supply the life-saving medication. Based on the announcement Scottish Families with the support of SDF set up a ‘Click and Deliver’ service which has now been supplying kits across the country for over a year.
The UK Department of Health and Social Care is looking to introduce further amendments to the HMRs, so that additional individuals and services can be exempt from existing supply regulations.
Kirsten Horsburgh, Strategy Coordinator (drug death prevention) at Scottish Drugs Forum said
“Following the announcement of the temporary Lord Advocate statement in early 2020, Scotland has introduced the supply of naloxone from numerous ‘non drug treatment’ services across the country. This has included homelessness services, family support services and criminal justice services to name a few.
We already recognise the significant benefits for widening naloxone provision through these routes and strongly encourage people to complete the consultation to ensure the permanency of this approach.
We cannot afford to be short-sighted or restrictive in our efforts to get naloxone in to the hands of those likely to witness an overdose.”
The consultation will run for a period of 8 weeks and close at 11:45pm on 28 September 2021 and is open to all interested individuals and organisations. A direct link to contribute to the consultation can be found here – Expanding access to naloxone (dhsc.gov.uk)