A 'life saving' app which could help save people who have overdosed on drugs is set to launch in Somerset.

The 'Carry Naxalone' mapping app shows people where they can access the medical drug Naxalone, which can help save a person suffering from an opioid overdose.

Councillor Adam Dance, lead member of Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset Council, said:

“We want to reduce the number of drug related deaths in Somerset. The launch of the new Carry Naloxone app and naloxone click-and-deliver service will make it easier for people to access and carry naloxone kits. 

“The app provides a directory of locations where naloxone can be obtained, including local pharmacies and needle exchanges. It also includes information on how to recognize the signs of an overdose and how to administer naloxone.

“Naloxone should be seen as an essential medication and thought of in the same way as a defibrillator, or an EpiPen for anaphylactic shock. I did the training last year. It’s easy to administer, easy to carry and can ultimately save someone’s life.”

The app, which is the first of its kind in England, beganas a Somerset Council funded research project. The development of the app was a direct result of workshops and one-to-one discussions with current SDAS clients and was delivered by Dr Jennifer Scott, senior lecturer at the University of Bristol, and Deb Hussey, Safer Lives Lead at Turning Point.

Dr Jennifer Scott, senior lecturer at the University of Bristol, whose research is focused on developing harm reduction interventions said:

“By working in partnership with people who use opioids, drug service staff and peer mentors, we have designed information materials that we hope are engaging, help raise awareness of naloxone and where to get it and encourage people in Somerset to carry naloxone. 

“Carrying the medicine, as opposed to keeping it in a cupboard, is really important as you can't predict when it will be needed. The quicker it is given, the more likely it is to save someone's life. It is a safe medicine to use. 

“The training is simple, and once trained, anyone can confidently administer naloxone. The ambition of this local campaign supports International Overdose Awareness Day in its mission to end overdose. We are grateful to Somerset Council and Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service (SDAS) for their support with this work.

“Naloxone Training is always available at the SDAS hubs in Yeovil and Taunton and through outreach and it only takes 10 minutes to show someone how to use naloxone. 

Deb Hussey, Turning Point National Safer Lives Leadnsaid: “The launch of these new services is a significant step forward in the fight against opioid overdoses in Somerset, and following a trial period we hope to roll them out across Turning Point services nationally. 

“At a time when we are seeing changes in the drug supply and an increased risk of overdose, these innovative services will help to increase access to naloxone and will empower individuals to take control of their own safety.”

For further information call 0300 303 8788 or visit www.turning-point.co.uk/somerset