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Drugs: Misuse

Volume 495: debated on Monday 29 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his policy is on the use of naloxone in the treatment of opiate addicts; and if he will make a statement; (282170)

(2) what his policy is on the provision of naloxone to carers of opiate addicts to administer in cases of overdose.

Advice on the use of naloxone in the treatment of drug addiction is set out in “Drug Misuse and Dependence: Guidelines on Clinical Management” (2007) guidelines_2007.pdf

All drug treatment services are expected to work within these guidelines. The guidance notes that all services working with drug misusers should have an emergency protocol in place to cover the management of drug overdoses. This should include, as well as other measures, protocols for the emergency administration of naloxone.

The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse is running pilots in take-home naloxone in 16 sites in England. The pilot projects will make naloxone available to family members and carers, and train them in its use and other life saving measures. They will also encourage drug users to think about reducing risk-taking.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with NHS bodies on the supply of and demand for naloxone; and if he will make a statement. (282171)

Naloxone injection of different strengths is available in ampoules and pre-filled syringes. The national health service has alerted NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA) that there are problems affecting the supply of one presentation of naloxone hydrochloride injection in pre-filled syringes. Stocks are limited and supply is being carefully managed by the company. These syringes are available only from one source and so it is not possible to obtain alternative supplies of this presentation.

NHS PASA routinely monitors the availability of naloxone injection and is not aware of any other supply problems with this product.