Posted on: 4 April, 2023
A new app which will provide support to people using drugs alone will begin its pilot in Worcestershire, Sutton and Sandwell on Tuesday 11th April 2023.
‘BuddyUp’ will connect someone using drugs to a Cranstoun member of staff who will be trained in responding to overdoses and will be able to send emergency support should the person become unresponsive.
In 2021, over 5,000 people died in the UK from a drug death – a figure higher than fatalities on the road and knife crime combined – and by far the highest number of deaths in Europe.
The app has been developed by the charity Cranstoun who are committed to delivering world class innovations to reverse the drug death crisis. During the pilot, BuddyUp will run with selective hours with the ambition of having an expanded service across the UK and Republic of Ireland in the near future.
Staff will work with the app user to create an emergency rescue plan. The plan is only activated if the app user overdoses. It will send an emergency message to them, triggering the right medical attention including alerting the emergency services and, where possible, administration of naloxone.
People who use drugs should always let someone know who can check on them, if that’s not possible, that is what BuddyUp is for.
Chris Rintoul, Harm Reduction & Innovation Lead at Cranstoun said, “We urgently need to look at new ways to address the drug death crisis we have in this country.
“That’s why we’ve invested in building this app and will be encouraging people using drugs to use it.
“One death from overdose is one too many, it tears apart families and communities. People who use drugs alone are at a heightened risk of death from overdose should something go wrong. Through BuddyUp we want to be able to support people using drugs to ensure they can be kept safe if using alone.
“Our staff are highly trained and will be there to support people when they need it.
“BuddyUp is one intervention in what needs to be an overhaul of the way we respond to the drug crisis in the UK and Ireland. It’s through innovation and new approaches like this that we can work to prevent avoidable, fatal overdoses and support people who need it to access services.”
Cranstoun has worked with the Brave Co-op in Canada who have developed a similar app to address drug related deaths. The BuddyUp app is available on Google Play and the App Store, and further information can be found at BuddyUp – Cranstoun.