In December 2019, the OPCC received a £20,000 funding application via the Community Safety Initiative from Foundations.
The application was to deliver a Peer to Peer Naloxone Project in Cleveland via the Harm Reduction Union (HRU) for 12 months.
Opiate-based drugs are a key contributor to the high rates of drug related deaths in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool. The towns have the highest rates nationally.
Naloxone is a life-saving treatment that temporarily reverses the effects of an overdose from opiate based drugs.
In 2015, the Home Office published guidance on Naloxone being issued to people who take drugs as part of a ‘Take Home Kit’.
These kits can be acquired from substance misuse services. However, there are drug users, who do not access treatment services. These drug users are at a greater risk of death. This is due to the lack of contact with health care professionals, and support services that do not have access to Naloxone.
Addressing the gap
To address the gap and meet the needs of this vulnerable group of people, Foundations have formed a Harm Reduction Union Peer to Peer Naloxone Project, which will involve a group of volunteers, who are themselves in recovery for their substance use, who will distribute the kits to those who need it most.
Foundations have stated that the key aims of the project are to:
- Reduce drug related deaths
- Increase access to meaningful recovery and support
- Reduction in drug related litter in communities
- Reduction in costs on public services
- Increase education and employment opportunities.
Foundations is the clinical delivery partner for Heroin Assisted Treatment. It was the first scheme of its kind in England.
The organisation’s services have been rated as ‘outstanding’ for care of vulnerable people. It provides effective care via CQC at their Acklam Road site and ‘outstanding’ care overall at its Harris Street site.
This proposal aligns with the OPCC’s commitments to provide people with substance abuse issues the treatment and support they need, as stated in the Police and Crime Plan.
The OPCC initially agreed funding to cover the 12 month period from1st July 2020 to 30th June 2020.
Due to the initial outbreak of COVID’19, and subsequent quarantine, Foundations were not in a position where they could operate the scheme. The new funding period will cover 1st January 2021 – 31st December 2021.