National Naloxone Programme succeeds in making an impact within Scottish Prisons

Scotland’s National Naloxone Programme’s work within the prison system has been reviewed in a paper authored by Kirsten Horsburgh, SDF’s National Naloxone Coordinator, and Andrew McAuley, Health Protection Scotland, and published in the Drug and Alcohol Review journal.

In 2010, Scotland became the first country to implement a National Naloxone Programme (NNP), which aimed to make naloxone, a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdose, available to anyone at risk of opioid overdose.

Central to the programme’s design have been strategies to engage Scottish prisoners, due to there being an elevated risk of drug-related death in the weeks following liberation.

The report states that the implementation of Naloxone across Scottish prisons has presented particular challenges, linked to both operational issues within prison establishments and individual factors affecting staff delivering, and prisoners engaging, with the program.

The authors believe that the programme has adapted to these challenges to a point, and many barriers have been overcome through innovation and partnership working.

There is now a largely consistent model in place where prisoners-on-release are provided with Naloxone upon liberation, which has benefited this population in terms of reduced opioid-related mortality.

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