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Responders to serious overdose cases are life-savers, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has stated her concern at the rise in serious overdose cases, and commended the work of the Ambulance Service, Extern and others in saving lives.

She was speaking after new statistics showed the number of times the Ambulance Service administered naloxone, which temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdoses, has risen by 40 per cent since 2017, rising to 876 for 2019.  

“I visited Extern only last week to hear about the Street Injectors Support Service and other ongoing work which is saving lives daily,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“If we wish to tackle the rise in serious overdose cases, as evidenced by the rise in the administration of naloxone, we will need different and more wide-ranging services. In the short-term, we need to ensure those at risk and those around them have access to naloxone, ideally through the nasal spray, to save lives.

“In the longer term, we need swiftly to raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of overdose and where the support is available, as well as of course addressing the issues in areas such as mental health and homelessness where too many people are still living without adequate support and protection.

“I commend the work of Extern, the Ambulance Service and others because their work is nothing short of life-saving.”