Community pharmacy pilot project delivers hundreds of take-home naloxone kits in one year


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More than 300 take-home naloxone kits have been distributed by community pharmacies in two parts of England over the past year as part of a pilot project, according to figures shared with Pharmaceutical journal.

Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids, such as methadone, morphine, and fentanyl.

A take-out naloxone pilot project based at community pharmacies in Somerset and Wakefield, which has been in operation since May 2020, has reported a supply of more than 330 kits to patients in its first year.r.

The program, set up by the Turning Point charity, involves members of the pharmacy team providing naloxone injections to people at risk of having, or likely to witness, an opioid-related overdose. so that the injection can be given in an emergency. .

Of the kits provided, most were in Wakefield, where only 2 pharmacies provided more than 200 kits. In Somerset, 11 community pharmacies provided 123 kits to the region.

Medication delivery can be done by any team member at eligible pharmacies once they have completed the mandatory training.

Jenny Scott, a senior lecturer in pharmacy at the University of Bath, who works on the Turning Point pilot, said she had hoped the number of interventions would have been higher, but said the key was to keep the naloxone on the community pharmacy. radar.

In Wales, the ‘Substance Misuse Annual Report’ for 2019/2020 revealed that 4,833 take-out naloxone kits were provided via sites registered between April 2019 and March 2020; a 14% increase over the previous year and the greater number of kits supplied in one fiscal year.

Only 21 of these kits were provided by community pharmacies, but a Welsh government spokesperson said it was looking to increase the pharmacy supply of the drug.

“Pharmacy distribution of take-out naloxone remains low, but we are working with Community Pharmacy Wales to expand the supply of naloxone to pharmacies that offer needles and syringes,” they said.

In Scotland, a nationwide marketing campaign has been launched by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Drugs Forum to help raise awareness of the signs of drug overdose and the use of naloxone.

TV and radio ads as well as billboards in transport hubs and malls aim to encourage people to visit the StopTheDeaths website to learn how to identify when someone is overdosing, as well as how to get it. a naloxone kit and be trained to use the.

Talk to Pharmaceutical journal, Angela Constance, Scottish Minister for Drug Policy, said: ‘Part of this is a broader engagement with the general public on how they can gear up to save a life, but it has a role very important in the fight against stigma. “

In August 2021, the four UK national governments held a consultation to seek advice on the expansion of naloxone use in the UK.

Naloxone is currently a prescription only drug regulated by the Human Medicines Regulations 2012. This means that there are controls over who can legally administer, sell and supply naloxone.

Addiction treatment services that can currently legally provide naloxone without a prescription include addiction services provided in primary and secondary care; needle and syringe exchange programs, including those provided by pharmacies; and pharmacies offering drug addiction treatment, such as opioid substitution therapy.

The consultation will close on September 28, 2021.

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