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Naloxone service launches at all Scottish community pharmacies

Scotland’s nationwide pharmacy naloxone service has launched, backed by £300,000 of government funding for emergency kits.

As of yesterday (October 30), all community pharmacies in Scotland now hold “at least” two naloxone kits, used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, the Scottish government announced.

Under the emergency access naloxone scheme, Scottish community pharmacies will be able to provide either nasal spray or injectable naloxone in an emergency, it said yesterday.

The Scottish government has provided funding to the tune of £300,000 to support the roll out of the scheme, it added.

Read more: Scotland to roll out national naloxone service as pharmacy saves two lives

Drugs and alcohol policy minister Elena Whitham said that the government had provided “more than £3 million” overall to improve access to naloxone in Scotland as part of its “national mission” to reduce drug deaths and harm.

Ms Whitham added that the rollout of the kits to pharmacies was a “substantial increase [in] life-saving emergency access” and expressed her gratitude for the support from community pharmacies to reduce drug deaths and harm.

Read more: RPS hails Scottish pharmacy naloxone action as drug deaths plummet

Community Pharmacy Scotland’s (CPS) incoming chief executive Matt Barclay said that the nation’s pharmacy negotiator was “pleased” that community pharmacy had a “key role” in reducing drug deaths in Scotland.

Mr Barclay added that the naloxone service “once again sees community pharmacy at the heart of the community, delivering care for the citizens of Scotland”.

Read more: Commission more pharmacy take-home naloxone services, review says

In September, C+D reported that the naloxone service in Scotland was set to launch, while staff at Wicker Pharmacy in Sheffield had prevented two overdose deaths using naloxone in August just a week after receiving training in how to administer the drug.

Also in August, National Records of Scotland (NRS) revealed that the country had recorded a 21% decline in drug-related deaths in 2022. In response to the news, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) praised the increased availability of naloxone in community pharmacies.

Read more: Pharmacies in Scotland supplied over 9,000 take-home naloxone kits in 2020/21

And in May 2022, a report by Public Health Scotland (PHS) revealed that community pharmacies in Scotland dispensed or issued more than 9,000 take-home naloxone kits in 2020/21.

Meanwhile, a government review argued in June last year that more pharmacies across the UK should be contracted to provide a take-home naloxone service and assistance with opioid overdose management.

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