Service Evaluation of Scotland's National Take-Home Naloxone Programme - Service User Briefing

This research provides a service evaluation of Scotland's Take-Home Naloxone (THN) programme, rolled out from 2011 onwards, which aims to extend the distribution of naloxone to those at risk of opiod overdose and thus reduce the rate of drug-related deaths.

Service Evaluation of Scotland's Take Home Naloxone Programme

Between August 2012 and March 2014 research was carried out to evaluate Scotland's National Take-Home Naloxone programme in order to examine how it has been put into practice across Scotland to successfully prevent drug-related deaths. Here are some of the key findings from the report.

  • Service users largely provided a positive account of the naloxone programme due to its potential ability to save lives. Since 2010, there have been 365 recorded uses of the naloxone kit to reverse the effects of overdose. This does not include unreported uses which could exceed 500.
  • As a result of the THN programme service providers felt it had made people with problem drug use more aware of life saving techniques and the causes of overdose.
  • All service users who had been trained recommended the training and having a naloxone kit.
  • It has been recommended that the current target to reach people with problem drug use and provide them with naloxone should be increased to 15%. Progress has been made with kits being supplied to 8% of the target population but challenges remain in engaging those who do not access services.
  • Peer trainers were highlighted as an effective method of reaching the target group, due to their knowledge and understanding of the difficulties people with problem drug use face.
  • Service providers, service users and peer trainers all highlighted the police, often police harassment, as a barrier to people accessing or carrying naloxone and as a result awareness sessions for frontline police have been recommended.
  • An interview with a service user located within a rural health board highlighted poor naloxone provision in his area, which restricted his ability to help people in need. As a result the report suggested increased involvement from pharmacies.
  • Some interviewees looked to provide help to members of their community with problem drug use through publicising on Facebook that he had naloxone and people should contact him in the event of a suspected overdose.
  • Service users who took part in the programme were positive about the Take-Home Naloxone Programme, highlighting their increased confidence in overdose situations, recalling key elements of the training and the ease of using the kit.


Email: Fran Warren

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