DDN September 2023 DDN September_2023_v2 | Page 24



Naloxone is safe and easy to use . So let ’ s get lots more people trained up and carrying it , says Deb Hussey

P art of my role as Turning Point ’ s safer lives lead is expanding naloxone provision , and as an organisation we ’ re committed to ensuring that naloxone is available to anyone who may need to use it .

I ’ m passionate about service user involvement , so the DDN conference is always a highlight in my calendar . For this year ’ s conference I was delighted to showcase our Carry Naloxone coproduction campaign alongside providing naloxone training to almost a hundred attendees .
Our Carry Naloxone campaign started back in 2021 after an international review highlighted the low numbers of people carrying a naloxone kit on a daily basis . Most overdoses are thought to occur with someone else in the room or nearby , making early intervention possible – but that person needs to have a naloxone kit . Alongside colleagues Jennifer Scott and Jo Kesten from the University of Bristol – and funded by Somerset Council – we aimed to develop
a project to increase awareness and carriage of naloxone .
We started by running a short survey with people who use Turning Point services in Somerset , to see if the numbers reported in the 2021 study were borne out locally . The results were sobering – 87 per cent who responded said they had a naloxone kit but only 26 per cent carried one . Forty-six per cent had experienced an overdose , with more than half having overdosed between two and five times .
USER INVOLVEMENT For this project to be a success we knew that we needed to actively involve the people we wanted to reach , and we recruited five people who were using our services to work alongside us as part of a coproduction team .
We held our first focus group last summer . Recruitment had initially been challenging – people thought it was a tick-box exercise , that their opinions wouldn ’ t be listened to , and it probably wasn ’ t until the second group meeting that they began
to see their ideas were being taken seriously .
That ’ s my favourite part of co-producing projects – the moment when you see people start to understand that their contribution has meaning . Entering this project , I fully expected that our focus would be on making naloxone easier to carry . That ’ s why it ’ s so important to come to the table with a willingness to adapt , and why people with lived experience should always be consulted in projects that affect them .
STIGMA Ease of carriage was raised as an issue , but as the consultation progressed a larger issue emerged – stigma . The codesigners felt that carrying a naloxone kit identified them as someone who uses drugs , so the need to challenge public perceptions and normalise naloxone as a first aid medication became our primary objective .
Working with artist Michael Linnell , the co-designers ’ ideas were developed into three posters – there ’ s also an app