Bradshaw welcomes consultation on expanding access to lifesaving drug

Health Paula Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has welcomed a UK-wide consultation on expanding access to Naloxone without prescription.

The lifesaving drug reverses the effect of an opioid overdose and could help prevent drug-related deaths, which have doubled in the UK since 2012. The proposed changes would require amendments to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.

“I have been advocating for many years on the introduction of the nasal spray form of Naloxone and it is welcome the Department of Health is seeking to expand access alongside its UK partners,” said the South Belfast MLA.

“There was supposed to be a Public Health Agency pilot of this in hostels, but unfortunately it was prevented by the pandemic. We urgently need to bring this lifesaving drug to the people and places where it will make the most difference. Changing the UK’s current regulations and expanding access to include outreach and day services, supported accommodation services and occupations such as police officers and probation workers will mean more overdoses are prevented.

“It is also essential we remove the fear associated with administrating Naloxone in an emergency situation. Increased availability of the nasal spray will have a positive impact in this regard, as a non-medically trained individual will be far more comfortable with spraying the drug into the nose as opposed to injecting a needle. However, we also need to ensure those being asked to administer Naloxone are provided with full training and are clear in what aftercare is required.

“It is important this proposed policy direction is consistent across the UK and I hope the response to this consultation will be widely-reaching and positive.”