View Full Version : Vigilance could be a lifesaver fo drug users

12-Dec-12, 11:00
Lookout out for the tell-tale signs

AS Christmas is fast approaching NHS Highland’s Harm Reduction Service is taking the opportunity to remind those accessing their services, and their friends and families, that they have it in them to save a life.
Christmas is a high risk time of year for drug-related deaths yet most of them are preventable, if you recognise the signs and act on them by phoning 999.
Lisa Ross, Clinical Harm Reduction Nurse Specialist for NHS Highland, is keen to remind people of the training their service provides and what signs they should look out for.
She said: “Most drug related deaths are preventable and when we train our clients, or their friends and families, we make a point of continually reminding them of the signs to look out for and by recognising these and phoning 999 they could save a life.”
What to look out for –

Can you wake the person up?
Do they respond to your voice or a gentle shake?
Are they breathing?
Ms Ross said: “There are no safeguards or actions which can make taking illicit drugs completely safe. However by knowing the signs of an overdose it might mean someone gets help before it is too late.
“A snoring or rasping noise is the most commonly missed sign of an opiate overdose, and it is a sign that the person is in grave danger.
“If you can’t wake them up and they are making this noise it means they are struggling for breath. If left like that there is a danger they could stop breathing altogether.”
As part of this year’s Harm Reduction Christmas Campaign, posters and cards will be put up around Inverness with key messages on what to look for and a reminder to call 999 in time.
The service is also reminding everyone that it offers training for drug users and their friends and families not only on how to recognise the signs of an overdose but also what to do in that situation.
This includes training on how to administer Naloxone, an antidote to opiate overdose. Drug users and their friends and family are given advice on recognising the signs of an overdose and how to administer Naloxone. By using Naloxone someone can be kept alive until the emergency services arrive.
Ms Ross said: “This is a message we want everyone to remember no matter what time of year it is but we know that this time of year particularly some people can take things too far and put their life at risk.
“We also know that this time of year can be very difficult for some people and they may look at ways of coping which can, again, put their life at risk.
“It is really important that we keep pushing these messages. The ability to save a life is there.”
If you would like further advice contact:
Harm Reduction - 01463 717594
Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership 01463 704608www.highland-adp.org.uk (http://www.highland-adp.org.uk/)