North Ayrshire Council has trained a number of additional staff in the use of a potentially life-saving medication as a result of last Tuesday’s Drug Death Prevention Summit.

A total of 14 key employees from the Community Development Team, whose role is to help individuals and communities tackle real issues in their lives through community action and community based learning, will now be able to carry and administer Naloxone – a short acting medication which temporarily reverses the effects of opiod overdose.

The staff, who are based across all six North Ayrshire localities, will now carry the kits at all times, with a supply of Naloxone also being kept at each of their work bases – including Redburn Community Centre in Irvine, St John’s Educational Base in Stevenston and the Walker Hall in Kilbirnie.

Councillor Robert Foster, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “It was raised at the recent summit that more key frontline staff should be trained in the use of Naloxone.

“While many North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership staff working with at-risk groups are already trained in the use of the medication, I am delighted to see more staff based in the heart of our communities now carrying the kits.

“This is just a small step to preventing more tragic deaths from occurring, and we will continue to work with our partners, community groups and charities who are working hard to provide hope and a better future for those in the grip of substance addiction.”

North Ayrshire Council declared a drugs death emergency in September 2018 after seeing an unprecedented rise in the number of fatalities. The number of confirmed deaths recorded in 2018 was 38, with the figures expected to be higher still for 2019.

514 Naloxone kits were handed out in North Ayrshire in 2019, with at least 45 lives reported to have been saved.