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OPCC funding allows volunteers to carry Naloxone in Cleveland

Volunteers in Cleveland are able to carry and administer Naloxone thanks to funding from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Volunteers on the Peer-to-Peer Naloxone Training and Supply Project have been rewarded with 'Street Degrees', and the ability to administer Naloxone to opioid users in the county.

Naloxone temporarily reverses the effects of an opiate-related drugs overdose.

The peer-to-peer project is delivered by the Harm Reduction Union (HRU) on behalf of Foundations Healthcare.

After training, the project’s volunteers are issued with uniforms, backpacks and access to Naloxone kits.

The majority use their own lived experiences with substance use to engage with some of the most vulnerable users in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool.

Between 2018 and 2020, Middlesbrough had the second highest rate of drug-related deaths per 100,000 population in England and Wales. Hartlepool had the third highest rate.

During 2021 the scheme received funding of £20,000 from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Cleveland.

Cleveland PCC Steve Turner: “I’m committed to reducing the devastating impact of drugs on our communities, including for those trapped by substance use.

“This scheme allows vulnerable people who are not in drug treatment services to have access to life saving Naloxone kits – therefore hopefully preventing tragedy.

“Alongside tough enforcement against drug dealers and gangs, this holistic approach will help to rid our areas of drug-related crimes and stop more people losing their lives.”

The project started as a small pilot in early 2019 to see if was possible to develop peer to peer naloxone training and support project.. 

The OPCC said it was only due to PCC funding that Foundation has been able to ramp up the project’s development, establish the Harm Reduction Union (HRU) as a community interest company (CIC) and provide Street Degrees for volunteers taking part.

Since the project began, nine volunteers have distributed a total of 500 Naloxone kits, with 170 this year alone.

Before engaging with Foundations and the HRU project, Richard Lauro, 47, of Middlesbrough, was given a one in five chance of survival after a second bout of hospitalisation following years of drug use.

For Kris High, 36, of Middlesbrough, the HRU provided a “comfort blanket” when he left residential drug rehabilitation

Kris recently spoke to police officers in Lincolnshire, with one officer saying his testimony will “stay with him for the rest of his career”.

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