Home Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy Naloxone’s Wider Availability for Home Use Welcomed by Rehabs UK Founder

Naloxone’s Wider Availability for Home Use Welcomed by Rehabs UK Founder

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Lester Morse, the founder of Rehabs UK and an expert in addiction rehabilitation, has welcomed the news that naloxone will be more widely available for home use. Morse expressed his hope that the government will take additional action to ensure long-term solutions to the UK’s substance issues.

Online searches for information about naloxone have surged almost 300% since the announcement, reigniting debates about the potential for this life-saving drug to become an enabler rather than a deterrent. But Morse asserts that “the good far outweighs the bad” regarding at-home naloxone use. He emphasises the importance of government funding to support recovery, ensuring that lives saved by naloxone do not continue to live in a cycle of addiction and illness. According to ONS figures, the rate of deaths by drug poisoning in the UK rose 81.5% between 2012 and 2022, now at their highest volume since records began.

Police officers, probation workers, paramedics, and nurses will soon be able to provide take-home supplies of opioid overdose treatment naloxone, aiming to reduce opioid deaths across the UK. Rehabs UK has previously calculated that reducing homelessness in the UK could prevent over 160 lives being lost to opioids each year by addressing the root cause of the issue rather than the symptoms.

More said: “I 100% agree that naloxone should be handed out without a prescription. Without a doubt, it will revive some people who are overdosing, but we shouldn’t be lured into a false sense of security.”

“Naloxone is a rescue medication; its purpose is to reverse opioid overdose. It’s important to keep reminding people that naloxone, like many other harm minimisation tools, is not a treatment for an opioid use disorder. My biggest concern is that even if it does manage to bring down the death rates, it doesn’t solve the problem of all the people addicted to these drugs, who will probably eventually die from addiction-related illnesses. Will the government then stop or reduce funding for treatments to help people come off drugs and into recovery? You can bring down the death rates, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you are reducing the suffering of the people suffering from addiction or their families.”

On the question of how naloxone might impact people’s motivation to reduce and stop using drugs entirely, Morse stated, “There are so many people in addiction these days; every combination of circumstance will exist. Reviving people so they can do it again and eventually die isn’t great! Some people will fall into a false sense of security and put themselves in further harm, but I think the good far outweighs the bad in this situation.”

He continued: “The US has been giving out naloxone without a prescription for a while now, and you can see it definitely saves some people, and that’s fantastic! Dead people never get better. The trouble is that when you have a complicated problem like addiction, and so many people involved in it, it’s hard to see what’s best for the overall population. The ideal situation would obviously be nobody taking these drugs, but with that not being a realistic option, we have to try and keep as many alive as we can in the hope that they find a way to stabilise or stop.”

Drug and alcohol treatment services are already able to provide naloxone, while police officers, social workers, and probation officers, among others, will be new to this process. Morse described this change, saying, “In desperate times, we need desperate measures. I think there is a sense that ‘if you can’t take them to a consumption room, then we need to take the consumption room to them.’ The truth is, it’s hard to make the situation of someone overdosing worse. Without intervention, it’s over for them. Naloxone is relatively safe under those circumstances. In some areas of Pennsylvania, naloxone was present at 92% of overdoses. That’s an amazing achievement; the UK should hope to see the same level of success in making this available. Naloxone is not difficult to administer, and basic training gives confidence to those involved! All of this is worth it if we save even one life.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Rehabs UK is here to help. Rehabs UK is committed to continuing to support those battling alcoholism, drug addictions, and behavioural addictions. To access free assessments with trained treatment advisors, contact Rehabs UK.

Rehabs UK is a confidential addiction recovery support service. From drug and alcohol addictions to behavioural addictions such as gambling, the Rehabs UK team provides free advice and assessments to addicts, their friends, and their friends and families. Rehabs UK can provide bespoke addiction treatment plans, including services such as residential rehab, home detox, and addiction therapy.

Lester Morse is a recovery coach and neurolinguistic programmer who has worked in addiction treatment for over 30 years, covering both substance and behavioural addictions. After running a sober living project for nine years, Lester set up a 45-bed residential rehab facility. He is currently the director of Rehabs UK and East Coast Recovery.

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