Naloxone Training in Scotland Timeline

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Scottish Drugs Forum’s submission to the 2003 Scottish Executive Review of Treatment and Rehabilitation services highlights the need for Critical Incidents training to be made available in Scotland. Statistics published that year showed a record high of 382 drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2002. 


Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Action Team’s Critical Incidents Group makes an application in early 2004 for a Letter of Comfort from the Lord Advocate, to allow Naloxone use by non-medical staff; this request was declined

Scottish Drugs Forum receives funding to launch Scotland’s first Critical Incidents Training programme on overdose prevention and emergency responses for drug users, their families, friends and drug workers

Scottish Association of Drug Action Teams’ Drug-Related Deaths sub-group considers the use of Naloxone 


January: Scottish Association of Drug Action Teams Drug-Related Deaths sub-group recommends that Local Critical Incidents Groups or other similar structures should consider the benefits, particularly within ‘hot spots’, of the extended use of Naloxone.

March:  Scottish Drugs Forum holds a national conference highlighting trends among users for using diazepam and illicit heroin together which could increase a user’s risk of overdosing on other, higher classification, drugs.

June: Legislation is changed to add Naloxone to the limited list of medicines that may be given by injection “by anyone for the purpose of saving life in an emergency”.  An emergency dose of naloxone may now be given to prevent death from heroin overdose without specific medical instruction.

August:  Scottish Drugs Forum organises a major conference on drug deaths in partnership with the Scottish Executive, which announces wide-ranging conclustions of the National Investigation into 2003’s record drug deaths and recommendations for action from the Scottish Advisory Committee on Drug Misuse (SACDM) Drug Related Deaths Working Group.

December: The Scottish Executive launches the Drugs Death Action Plan. It calls for the creation of local Drug Death Preventions Groups and key themes/topics include:

  • Critical Incidents
  • Naloxone
  • Senior Drug Users


Scottish Drugs Forum chairs Glasgow Drug Death Prevention Group, initiating and significantly progressing partnership working on development of Take Home Naloxone in Glasgow.
Glasgow Naloxone Steering Group – assisted by Scottish Drugs Forum – and Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Action Team develop small scale Take Home Naloxone pilots.
Scottish Drugs Forum secures agreement for a fact-finding trip from Glasgow to the Chicago Recovery Alliance’s highly successful Take Home Naloxone Programme 


Launch of Glasgow and Lanarkshire Naloxone pilots


NHS Highland launches a Naloxone pilot in July


July: The National Forum on Drug-Related Deaths recommends development of local Take Home Naloxone programmes

August: Scottish Government announces roll-out of a national Take Home Naloxone programme; Scottish Drugs Forum receives funding to provide the training element of the national roll-out

November: Scottish Drugs Forum launches National THN Training Programme.


Scotland’s Social Care Social Work Improvement (Scotland) (SCSWIS) issues new guidance to staff recommending they encourage relevant services to take part in the naloxone programme because of the “very obvious benefits” for people who use services and for staff.


The Scottish Government announces a one year extension of the Scottish THN programme roll-out.

Scottish Drugs Forum continues its work in support of the programme roll-out, with the additional element of providing support for local area service providers to develop peer trainer networks, through our Naloxone Peer Educator Initiative.

SDF also plays a more formalised strategic role to help Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and others embed THN across the care sector in Scotland.