Bath’s MP, Wera Hobhouse, has visited the city’s drug treatment centre to get training on how to use Naloxone – the heroin antidote – to mark International Overdose Awareness Day on 31 August.
Developing Health & Independence (DHI), the Bath based charity who run drug and alcohol treatment services in the area, are responsible for training people to use the life-saving drug and providing it to people who may have reason to use it.
Since 2015, Naloxone has been available without a prescription and has saved countless lives since then. The opioid overdose reversal drug works by temporarily removing opioids from receptors in the body, buying vital time to wait for paramedics to arrive.
Drug related deaths have been increasing in Bath & North East Somerset and in the UK as a whole for the last six years. In the three years from 2015 to 2017, a total of 34 people in B&NES died from drug poisoning, 11 more than for the three-year period 2012 to 2014.
Across the UK, drug related deaths hit an all-time high in 2014 and have continued to increase year on year, with rates starting to stabilise in 2017.
Wera Hobhouse said: “I want to thank DHI for inviting me to the Beehive, training me to use Naloxone and for all of the lifesaving work they do. Every drug related death is a tragedy, and it’s heart-breaking to think that we have had 34 such tragedies in our area in the last three years.
“I hope that everyone who could potentially save a life by carrying a Naloxone kit gets in touch with DHI. Together, we can reduce the number of people who die from overdoses in Bath.”
Sam Blacker, DHI’s treatment services manager in Bath, said: “I’d like to thank Wera for coming down to the Beehive to have this training. Not only is she now equipped to help, should she ever come across someone who is overdosing, but she is also helping to raise the profile of this life saver.
“I would encourage anyone who uses heroin or any other opioid, and anyone who has a friend or family member using these drugs, to get in touch with DHI. We can provide you with this training and with a Naloxone kit to take away.
“If you do not know anyone who uses heroin, you can still help to reduce overdose deaths by donating to DHI so we can continue to do this lifesaving work. For example, providing someone with a Naloxone kit costs DHI about £20.”
To donate to DHI, visit https://localgiving.org/donation/dhi?amount=20.00.
If you think you could save a life by carrying Naloxone, contact DHI on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01225 329411.