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Policy in detail: Overdose prevention

Drug related deaths leaves a devastating impact on families and the wider community.

Drugs such as heroin and methadone are called opioid drugs. Naloxone is a medicine that can temporarily reverse the effect of opioid if somebody overdoses.

Scotland was the first country in the world to introduce a national naloxone programme, over £1 million funding by the Scottish Government over 5 years (2011 – 2016), empowering individuals, families, friends and communities to reverse an opiate overdose.  

34,267 naloxone kits have been reimbursed in Scotland through the national programme to people in the community and on liberation from prison that are at risk of opioid overdose.      

We have supported the embedding of naloxone provision in local NHS Health Board areas and are working closely with local partners to ensure naloxone remains a priority and is accessible for those who most need it.    

Scottish Government investment in the programme provides:

  • a National Naloxone Coordinator and a Naloxone Training Support Officer based at the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF)
  • continued support to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and Health Boards in the development of their local programmes
  • training, information and awareness materials
  • a national monitoring and evaluation programme based at the Information Services Division of National Services Scotland (ISD Scotland)

The Scottish Government worked closely with the National Naloxone Advisory Group (NNAG), which provided advice and guidance on the delivery of the programme across Scotland. The Group was formed of experts from the statutory and third sectors. The work of this group is now embedded in the Partnership for Action on Drugs in Scotland (PADS) work.

Information on all aspects of the programme and access to information materials, including posters and booklets is available at the national Naloxone website.