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In 2009 we were approached by Marion Barton (Social Inclusion Lead CIOS DAAT) and asked if we would pilot the introduction of Naloxone project in our Supported Accommodation which, after learning of its use, we readily agreed to do.

The proposal was that we should make Naloxone available in Cosgarne Hall for use by both our staff and the residents themselves, in order to reduce the risk of death from overdose among Heroin users living here.

Since the inception of the programme, Naloxone has saved the lives of 16 of our residents who would undoubtedly be dead now were it not for the availability of Naloxone in our premises.

Naloxone is an “opiate antagonist”. It works by blocking the effects of opiates to relieve dangerous symptoms caused by high levels of opiates in the blood. Naloxone injection and naloxone pre-filled auto-injection devices (Evzio) are used along with emergency medical treatment to reverse the life-threatening effects of opiate (narcotic) overdose.

Initially all staff and some clients/volunteers were trained in the administration of Naloxone and an ongoing training programme was established for residents. A stock of the drug was placed in easily accessible containers (similar to the break-glass boxes that operate the fire alarms) throughout strategic communal areas of the buildings.

To date we have had 16 incidents where Naloxone has undoubtedly saved lives and would recommend that any establishment that has the strong possibility of experiencing an opiate overdose consider engaging with this programme.

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We now have 3 staff Naloxone trainers on site and have developed a rolling training programme for clients, staff and volunteers on the use and administration of Naloxone.

With persistence, patience and the sheer determination of Marion Barton and in partnership with Addaction we now have a feasible source of replenishment and an approved pathway.