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Scotland to launch national naloxone emergency supply service from October 30


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The Scottish Government and Community Pharmacy Scotland have agreed to roll out next month a new national service to provide emergency access to supplies of naloxone.

An NHS circular signed by Alison Strath, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer of Scotland, advises that the emergency supply service will be added to the community pharmacy Public Health Service from 30 October 2023. It states that community pharmacy contractors and pharmacy teams should ensure they are familiar with the new arrangements.

Community pharmacy contractors have been asked to ensure that pharmacy teams complete the e-learning module for naloxone emergency supply. They are also encouraged to join webinars to support the implementation of the service which will be held on Wednesday 4 October and Tuesday 14 November at 19:30. Details of how to register can be found at on NHS Scotland’s Turas platform.

Significant step

Laura Wilson, Director of RPS Scotland, called the new service “a significant step in supporting the role of community pharmacy teams in harm reduction and preventing drug-related deaths.”

“RPS has advocated for the Scottish Government to ensure naloxone is available from every community pharmacy, and the introduction of this new national service for emergency stockholding is indeed welcome,” she added.

Wilson emphasised the necessity for pharmacy teams to have dedicated time and resources for training, ensuring they are fully equipped to deliver the service.

“We are committed to providing support to the service in any necessary capacity. We anticipate ongoing collaboration with the Scottish Government, including the development of any further policies aimed at reducing harm and preventing drug-related deaths,” she added.

On Aug. 31, the UK Home Affairs Committee called on the government to revise its current drug policy. The committee proposed to move away from the exclusive ‘abstinence only’ approach towards a more practical strategy focused on harm reduction. The committee’s suggestions also include the introduction of a national naloxone programme in England, with community pharmacies playing a central role in facilitating access.


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