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New initiative aims to reduce drug-related deaths in Doncaster

A new harm reduction initiative from Doncaster’s drug and alcohol service is aiming to reduce the risk of drug related deaths across the borough.

Staff who work for Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service’s specialist needle exchange on Thorne Road have been trained to give advice to drug users and their friends and family in recognising the signs of an overdose, and how to administer lifesaving Naloxone, an intramuscular antidote to opiates (such as heroin).

Aspire Service Manager Stuart Green said: “Our Naloxone programme is aimed at reducing drug-related overdoses and subsequent deaths of people who have a high risk of overdose, which can happen when someone has a reduced tolerance, such as leaving prison, or after detox. Combining drugs or mixing with them with alcohol is also high risk behaviour.

“When people have been fully trained by our staff, they are given a supply of Naloxone to take home which they can then use if they witness an overdose, while they are waiting for the arrival of paramedics, giving them the potential to save a life.”

Aspire is a partnership organisation set up by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and registered charity The Alcohol & Drug Service (ADS).

Assistant Director for RDaSH Drug and Alcohol Services, Ian Joustra said: “All drug use carries risks, and our services aim to support as many people as possible beat their addictions and go on to live their lives drug or alcohol free.

“However, it’s also important to reduce the harm associated with drug and alcohol use among people who are not yet ready to overcome their addictions, so introducing Naloxone in Doncaster is a positive step towards saving lives. It is part of a wider initiative by RDaSH to introduce similar programmes in the drug and alcohol services we provide across the Trust over the coming months.”

Please ring (01302) 730956 if you would like to know more about Aspire’s Naloxone programme, or for a confidential chat about drug or alcohol issues.

For more information about the Aspire’s services, please visit www.aspire.community.