Forward Leeds, the city’s drug and alcohol service is helping to raise awareness of how you can help in the event of witnessing an overdose.
To mark International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), which is held globally each year on August 31st, Director Lee Wilson said: “We want everyone to understand that overdose deaths are preventable.”
Across the world, IOAD aims to improve understanding of overdose and to encourage changes that help to reduce the harms associated with drug use.
Lee said: “People are at most risk of overdose when they may have had a break from using drugs, or if they have recently left detox/rehab or custody and the variety in purity of street drugs can also pose an overdose risk.”
Lee is reminding people who seek support to ask about getting a Naloxone kit so they can keep it on hand.
Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids. When injected into someone experiencing the effects of opioid overdose, it temporarily reverses the overdose effect, helping the patient to revive. Workers in the hubs will show people who want to take a kit, how to use it.
Nita Panesar, Naloxone Lead at Forward Leeds said: “Naloxone is readily available for free from us, as well as from local pharmacies. We want everyone to carry a naloxone kit because naloxone saves lives.
And she continued: “The safest choice is not to use drugs at all, but if you do use drugs, do not use alone – if you use alone then you’re not able to use naloxone. Be sure of the nature of the drugs you’re using and if you’re not sure of the quality take a small dose, wait and gauge your reaction.”
The last published statistics show there were 4,359 drug-related deaths in England and Wales in 2018. This is the highest number of deaths since records began in 1993. Since 2012, rates of drug-related poisonings have generally been on an upward trend.
If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about yours or someone else’s drug or alcohol use, then please contact Forward Leeds on 0113 887 2477.