95pc believe pharmacist naloxone supply would reduce drug deaths
The vast majority of respondents to a UK-wide consultation believe that if regulations were changed to allow pharmacists to store and supply naloxone, more drugs-related deaths could be avoided.
The health departments of all four UK nations carried out an eight-week consultation last year on proposed changes to the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMRs) that would exempt certain individuals and services from laws banning the supply of naloxone without a prescription.
These individuals and services include outreach services, nurses, paramedics and prison officers, as well as pharmacists.
A report on the consultation is published today. Of the 704 responses, 95 per cent said they agreed that if pharmacists were able to supply take-home naloxone without a prescription this would help prevent overdoses and deaths.
There were similar levels of support for making naloxone available from paramedics, outreach services and drug treatment workers, with close to 100 per cent of respondents saying this could reduce the incidence of opioid overdose and drug-related deaths.
A number of respondents made reference to pharmacies’ convenient locations and opening hours, said the Government, adding that support “is also based on the fact that pharmacists and pharmacy teams already see people who use drugs on a regular basis through substitute prescribing and needle and syringe programmes”.
Some also felt that this could help “produce trusting relationships between pharmacists and people who use opioids”.
Over 95 per cent of respondents said that if the laws were changed pharmacists were likely or highly likely to store and supply naloxone.
Overall, the consultation responses point to broad support for the Government proposals, with 63 per cent agreeing that naloxone is currently difficult to access in the event of an overdose.
The Department of Health and Social Care said it is “committed to expanding access to naloxone” and “will work with the devolved governments to examine policy options to take this forward over the next few months”.
A full government response will be published “by the end of this year”.
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