THE SCOTTISH Government has widened the availability of an overdose reversal drug while restrictions to tackle the Covid-19 remain in place.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the move as part of more than £2 million of  new support for those affected by drug addiction.

As well as overdose reversal drug, Naloxone, now being able to be more widely administered, £1.9 million has been allocated to support people in prison on prescribed opiate substitution treatment (OST) - with a switch to longer-acting drug, Buvidal.

Buvidal doses last for either seven or 28 days, relieving the pressure on prison staff to administer treatment.

The Scottish Government has also made £150,000 available to expand residential rehab support to people leaving prison during the pandemic- reducing pressure on local services.

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Ms Freeman said: “We have increased the availability of Naloxone, a medication that reserves opiate overdose. 

“Under existing UK legislation, supplies of Naloxone can only be held by drugs treatment services for use in an emergency - but not for onward distribution.

"In the current crisis, that can present an obstacle to people receiving the treatment that they need.

“The Lord Advocate has confirmed that for the duration of this crisis, it would not be in the public interest to prosecute any individual working for a service registered with the Scottish Government who supplies Naloxone in an emergency, to save lives.”

She added: “We are providing £150,000 to enhance residential rehabilitation services. It will increase the number of residential places available for people leaving prison.

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“We are making up to £1.9 million available to support people in prison who need opiate substitution therapy or OST as it’s known.That is currently around a quarter of Scotland’s prison population.

“The funding will make a new treatment called Buvidal available to people in prison. Buvidal is administered as a seven or a 28-say injection or dose, rather than daily. This change will help to  relive pressure on our prison service, it will ensure continuity of treatment for people in prison.”