Importance of peers in naloxone supply highlighted at national practitioner forum

The vital contribution of peers in the naloxone supply chain was recently explored at a development day held by the Scottish Naloxone Network (ScoNN), a practitioner forum for local naloxone coordinators.

The ScoNN, which met digitally on the 1st of July, invited five speakers to talk to ScoNN members, peers, would-be peers, and other interested individuals about various forms of peer naloxone – a medication which can temporally reverse the effects of an opiate overdose – supply.

Chaired and organised by SDF’s drug death prevention team, the event highlighted that through supplying naloxone via peers, often more people agree to accepting training and kits. Participants heard that this powerful, and empowering, message should be an essential part of naloxone strategies in drug death prevention plans. Indeed, peers are a key element of the naloxone strategy in SDF’s Staying Alive in Scotland toolkit, which forms part of the Scottish Government’s action plan for Rights, Respect, and Recovery.

Many speakers emphasised that peers can be anybody in a community, that there should be a broad vision of who a peer is, and that this, in turn, will broaden the supply network.

Also highlighted, was that peer networks can be set up quickly and, with the right support, can be supplying naloxone in a matter of weeks.

In May 2020, the Lord Advocate released a statement on the removal of some barriers to naloxone provision for the duration of the COVID crisis and there was consensus from ScoNN participants that they would like to see these barriers permanently removed beyond COVID and lockdown.

Over a hundred people took part in the development day and the overall feedback from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, leaving people feeling optimistic about the future of peer naloxone supply in Scotland and the huge difference it makes to saving lives.

Videos of presentations from this event are available on the SDF YouTube channel. Check them out if  you would like to know more about how peer naloxone supply could work in your area. If you have any questions or want more information about setting up peer supply, you can contact Mariebeth Kilbride,