(Photo: iStock)

The Scottish Government and Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) have launched a campaign to raise public awareness about drug overdose and the life-saving medication naloxone.

Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opioids-related overdose.

The launch of the national campaign marks the International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31).

It will use TV, radio adverts and billboards at transport hubs and shopping centres to persuade people to visit the StopTheDeaths website and learn about signs of an overdose.

The website will also give information about how to get a naloxone kit and provide training to use it.

Scottish Drugs policy minister Angela Constance said: “As I have said before, the number of deaths in Scotland is heart-breaking and I am determined that every penny of the £250 million we will spend on the crisis over the next five years will make a difference.

According to government data, in 2020, 1,339 people died because of drug overdose in Scotland, marking the seventh consecutive year of a record number of drug-related deaths.

She said: “It will help inform a wider audience of what naloxone is, how it works and how they can use it in an emergency.

“Naloxone is one of a wide range of measures being used to address the public health emergency of drugs deaths, but it plays an important role”.

Kirsten Horsburgh, Strategy Coordinator for Drug Death Prevention at Scottish Drugs Forum, said: “In the time people wait for an ambulance the first steps can be made that can save that person’s life.  Recognising that someone may be experiencing an overdose, dialling 999 and administering naloxone are all part of the response that gives that person the best chance of recovery.

“In Scotland there is widespread access to naloxone kits and training and it’s crucial that as many people as possible get involved.”

If you want to share your stories and/or experiences with us, please send an email to [email protected]