STAFF at a Colchester charity are helping to train members of the public to administer a lifesaving anti-overdose drug. 

Open Road, a drug and alcohol support service, has been able to give the drug to users who are at risk in an emergency for a number of years. 

Naloxone is only effective on opioid overdoses, commonly heroin.

All of Open Road's services in Colchester, Clacton, Basildon, Chelmsford and Harlow will be able to provide service users and those using the needle exchange services with Naloxone.

But now staff are being enabled to give training to friends, carers or family members who might come into contact with someone at risk of overdose.

A spokesman for Open Road said: "This training will enable that person to administer Naloxone and the training covers how to spot an overdose.

"Naloxone is injected but not into a vein. It can be used on any part of the body and can be injected through clothing.

"It is important that its known, you must still call 999 regardless of whether you have administered Naloxone or not, and that they should be placed in recovery position if possible.

"The reason for this is because although Naloxone is very effective it is short acting, so if an overdose has occurred, they will still need medical attention."  

Matthew Gauden, Open Road regional manager said: “Naloxone saves lives, I have seen this first hand with our service users, and we would encourage everyone to think about carrying Naloxone and welcome people to talk to us about it, if they have any questions."

The rate of drug poisoning deaths continues to increase with 4,859 deaths related to drug poisoning registered in England and Wales in 2021.

This is the highest number since records began in 1993 and 6.5 per cent higher than in 2020.

The rate of drug poisoning deaths in 2021 of 84.4 deaths per million in comparison to that of 46.6 per million in 2012, is an increase of 81.1 per cent.

Drug-related mortality rates have also been increasing in Scotland, Northern Ireland and across Northern Europe for several years.