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Substance misuse charity launches online service to make naloxone more accessible

(Stock image)

A new Wales-wide Click and Deliver service has been set up by Barod, a substance misuse charity in South and East Wales, where people can order the life-saving drug naloxone online and get it sent to their house, free of charge.

Naloxone is a medication used to temporarily reverse the effect of opioid overdose, which can happen when using drugs such as heroin, tramadol, and morphine. Naloxone comes in two forms, an intramuscular injection and a nasal spray. This life-saving drug has been available from all Barod and consortium-based services since the Take Home Naloxone programme was rolled out by Welsh Government in 2011.

According to Public Health Wales’s recent ‘Drug Related Mortality (2020-21) Annual Report’, naloxone has been used in 3,081 opioid drug poisoning events, each one a potential drug death, since July 2013. In 2020-21, naloxone was used in 225 drug poisoning events. In the same timeframe, Barod issued a total of 1,038 naloxone kits.

This new national service comes just a month after Barod started a peer-to-peer naloxone pilot in Cwm Taf. People with lived experience of substance misuse and who had their own lives saved by naloxone are hitting the streets of Merthyr Tydfil every week to train and issue naloxone to others who are at risk of an opioid overdose.

Caroline Phipps, CEO of Barod said “Naloxone is a life-saving intervention and the more ways people can gain access to it, the better. Our learning from Covid-19 has enabled us to broaden and innovate our services.”

Caroline added, “We have increased our digital services over the last 18-months, including establishing a Wales-wide Live Webchat Service and this new naloxone Click and Deliver offers an additional way for people to get hold of the life-saving drug, regardless of where they live in Wales. This can only be good for those affected by substance use, including loved ones and our communities. We’d also like to thank Welsh Government for their support in helping establish this new service.”

George Charlton, who has worked with individuals and their families who are disenfranchised by addictions and wider social issues across the UK, and recently supported Barod in the establishment of a new peer-to-peer naloxone pilot in Cwm Taf, said “Year on year, the people we care about are dying. I’ve personally lost friends to a drug overdose in the last year which is why I am absolutely delighted to hear the news that Barod will be introducing an innovative new scheme. This will enable anyone who is likely to witness a drug overdose gain easy access to a free naloxone kit and training which will, without doubt, help to reduce drug-related deaths across Wales.”

George added “As someone with direct lived experience of addiction and someone whose own life has been saved because of naloxone, I know first-hand the difference this project will make when it comes to saving the lives of people who use drugs. When you save a life with naloxone, you enable someone like me to breathe again, to build a future for ourselves, to become parents, husbands, to give back to our communities and to show that we can, and do, recover.”

Sarah, from Merthyr, who is one of the naloxone champions as part of Barod’s new peer-to-peer pilot in Cwm Taf, said “Naloxone saves lives, and I am helping people do that. I was in a situation without a kit recently and I called for a worker who brought naloxone and saved a life, so I want to be involved.”

Rachel, who is also from Merthyr and involved in the peer-to-peer naloxone pilot, added “I think the new Click and Deliver naloxone service set up by Barod is awesome! People can find it hard to access a service to get hold of naloxone, so having it delivered can ease these issues. I have used kits in the past and saved multiple lives. No bad can come from this.”

Lisa, whose own life has recently been saved by naloxone, said “My own life was recently saved by one of the other peers, as part of the peer-to-peer naloxone pilot. They found me overdosed in the hallway and if it wasn’t for the quick response of the peer and the Barod staff, I may not be here today. They and naloxone saved my life. It has inspired me to be part of the peer-to-peer naloxone project in Merthyr and now I will always carry naloxone.”

Welsh Government has assisted Barod in setting up this new service and is supportive of the Naloxone Click and Deliver initiative.