Posted on: 31 August, 2022
Social justice charity Cranstoun have begun rolling out new Opioid Overdose Response Pouches which will equip the carrier with all the tools they need to safely reverse an opioid overdose in a bid to prevent people across the country dying from overdoses from substances like heroin.
The pouches have been launched on International Overdose Awareness Day (31st August) and follow the publication in recent weeks of drug-related death statistics in England, Wales and Scotland which showed that 6,189 people died from drug poisoning in 2021 which is the highest level of drug-related deaths in Europe.
They have been designed to ensure that the user has everything they need to administer the life-saving medication naloxone for opioid overdoses, in a safe and easy way. Many overdoses occur in dark areas where there maybe hazards on the ground such broken glass or injecting equipment or heavy traffic nearby.
Opioid overdoses kill because they slow down and can stop breathing. Naloxone can temporarily block and reverse these effects, restoring breathing, buying valuable time for a medical response to arrive.
The Opioid Overdose Response Pouches contain two packs of injectable Naloxone, latex-free gloves, a face shield for giving rescue breaths if required, a brief instruction card on how the kit works and a torch to ensure that the area is safe from items which may cause harm or to check the person’s pupils. The pouches also come with a karabiner which allows it to be easily attached to the outside of a bag and easily accessible.
The pouches will initially be rolled out to those the charity already trains in administering Naloxone, these are often the people most likely to come into contact with someone suffering an overdose. These include hostel and night shelter staff as well as other outreach workers in the many communities Cranstoun operates in.
The ambition is that the pouches will be rolled out to the wider community as well as to train and equip people to save lives and prevent drug-related deaths. These may include car-park attendants, taxi drivers, shop workers and other people who maybe likely to come into contact with someone needing help.
The first 1,000 pouches have been funded through Cranstoun’s Innovation Fund. An additional 750 Overdose Prevention Pouches have been funded by local authorities in Sutton, Worcestershire, Wokingham and the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for use in their local areas as part of efforts to reduce drug-related deaths.
2,000 packs, or 10,000 doses, of Naloxone have been supplied to the charity for free for use in the pouches by pharmaceutical company Ethypharm who share Cranstoun’s values around reducing harm and deaths caused by opioids.
Charlie Mack, Chief Executive at Cranstoun said: “At Cranstoun we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce drug-related harms.
“These new pouches can make a huge impact in the response to the appalling drug-related death crisis we have in this country. With these, we will be able to train more people and get this important life-saving antidote rolled out further into communities across the country.
“They have been designed to allow the carrier to overcome some of the common challenges they may face when responding to an overdose. Above all else, they will allow Naloxone to be administered in an easy and safe way.
“They will equip people with everything they need to reverse an opioid overdose and be part of the growing group of people trained to save lives.
“We’re incredibly grateful to our local authority partners and the team at Ethypharm for their generous support for the pouches and their dedication to taking new approaches to rollout the life-saving antidote Naloxone to save lives.”
The Opioid Overdose Response Pouches have begun their rollout in areas where Cranstoun currently runs Drug & Alcohol Support Services with the ambition to see them used more widely across the country.
Cranstoun offers all its staff the opportunity to be trained in administering the life-saving antidote.