Home > Drug-related deaths and strategies for prevention.

Lynn, Ena (2007) Drug-related deaths and strategies for prevention. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 21, spring 2007, p. 2.

PDF (Drugnet Ireland, issue 21) - Published Version

The report of a working group convened by the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) to examine the issue of drug-related deaths and strategies for prevention was published on 21 December 2006.1  The ICGP Working Group believes that, with suitable education and improved awareness of the issues involved in drug-related deaths, lives can be saved.  The group supports the provisions for senior ambulance personnel with special training to carry naloxone as an emergency response to opiate overdose. 

Recommendations made in the report include: 

·       A national co-ordinated strategy to prevent opiate-related deaths should be implemented. 

·       Links should be established between the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, the National Parasuicide Registry and the National Drug-Related Deaths Index, in view of the overlap between substance abuse and suicide. 

·       Appropriate information and resource materials should be standardised across all treatment and support locations. 

·       All personnel who treat drug users should receive training in overdose prevention and basic life-support.  Family members of known drug users should also consider receiving basic life-support training. 

·       Individuals at high risk of overdose can be identified and service providers should address risky behaviours with these service users. 

·       Consideration should be given to the provision of overdose prevention education groups for service users. 

·       On discharge from prison, drug users should be allowed to link in with their local drug treatment agency, with contact numbers contained in a ‘pre-release’ pack. 

·       Prison service personnel should facilitate contact with local HSE services wherever possible when a known drug user is being discharged. 

·       Drug users undergoing detoxification should be told of the risks of overdose following detoxification. 

·       Garda members should receive training in overdose prevention. 

·       The National Drugs Strategy Team should research the feasibility of collecting data on non-fatal opiate overdoses or near misses. 

The ICGP Working Group was chaired by Dr Ide Delargy, director of the Drug Misuse Programme of the ICGP and included representatives from the HSE, the voluntary sector, the Health Research Board and the Irish Prison Service.  

1.  ICGP Working Group (2006) Drug-related deaths and strategies for prevention. Dublin: ICGP. The full report is available on the ICGP website at www.icgp.ie


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