More naloxone drug overdose reversal kits distributed

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Drug user injecting heroinImage source, SPL
Image caption,
It is thought naloxone kits have helped to save over 40 lives

A pioneering programme which has led to a reduction in drug-related deaths has expanded.

Naloxone kits, which help reverse the effects of an overdose, were introduced in Scotland in 2010.

New figures reveal the distribution of the kits by health services and prisons has increased from 3,878 in 2012-2013 to 6,472 in the past year.

Health statistician Prof Sheila Bird believes the programme has helped to save more than 40 lives.

Naloxone works like an epi-pen, which are used to treat allergic reactions.

Drug users suffering an overdose can be given the treatment easily by family members or a friend, giving extra time for emergency services to arrive.

A national naloxone programme was introduced three years ago with Scotland the first country in the world to make such a move.

The Information Services Division, which is part of NHS Scotland, said every Scottish prison is now involved in the programme while all of Scotland's health boards - apart from NHS Western Isles - participate.

Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP said: "One drug-related death is one too many.

"Our world leading programme for take home naloxone, alongside life-saving training, sends a clear message that lives matter and will help those who may not have engaged with drugs services before."