Story sent in by Brian McGowan:
As a pharmacist, Carron Grogan knew the science behind the life-saving drug Naloxone, but little did she know that soon after its introduction she would put this knowledge into action. And she’s not alone. Within the last 2 years, at least 18 people have been revived by community pharmacists in or near their pharmacies within the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area. Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opiod overdose.
Carron, who is now a pharmacist within NHSGGC, was working in a community pharmacy in Renfrew when her skills were required in an emergency. Carron said: “Training for an emergency is one thing but putting this training into action is another matter. It started as a normal day but some of my clients came into the shop, saying their friend had collapsed nearby.
“When I got to the young man, his lips were already blue so I began administering the Naloxone, while his friends called an ambulance. Sometimes it takes more than one dose to be successful and in the end I administered four doses while we waited for the ambulance. Thankfully it worked and the young man was revived and was taken off to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. He survived.
“There are now 18 confirmed reports of pharmacy staff administering naloxone. This is a testament to the professionalism of the staff involved and the effectiveness of the training they received. “The number of drug related deaths in Glasgow and Scotland has reached unprecedented levels. This is a public health emergency that requires a response from all sections of the community and it is clear that community pharmacies are playing their part in helping to address this emergency situation.
5 thoughts on “NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde taking steps NOW to reduce drug deaths: Not BBC Scotland’s kind of story”
I posted this in an earlier thread today but it fits better here. Apologies for repetition!
I note that with the drugs conferences in Glasgow this week various media organisations are again reporting on the drug death statistics in Scotland. These are indeed very concerning; they do seem to have an explanation (but I’m no expert); and it is the subject of action by the SG, its agencies, third sector bodies etc.
Although the figures for Scotland on drugs deaths are appalling and worse that those in England (although calculated a bit differently,) it is notable that even within England alone the actual figures are strikingly different across the regions.
Below are some facts from the latest data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS reports that in 2018 in North East England there were 96.2 deaths per million persons due to drug misuse – the highest in England. The lowest figure was 34.9 deaths per million persons in London – that’s a very big difference. There is a general pattern of the rate of deaths increasing the further one moves away from London and the South East (see ONS Figure 4: Drug misuse has a marked North-South divide).
Why is there such variability within one country, one system, and all under the management of a Tory government for the past 10 years? If current UK drug policy is sufficient and the Westminster government is actively using all the (adequate) powers at its disposal – as it may claim – why is this variability across England still in existence?
But the ONS also states: “The number of deaths registered arising from drug use in 2018 (in England and Wales) was the highest since our records began in 1993. We have also seen the biggest year-on-year percentage increase”.
So whatever is said in the media about the situation in Scotland – and it is right that the situation is seriously addressed – let’s try not to permit the coverage to airbrush out the very marked, unexplained regional variations in England.
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On Good Morning Scotland, the principal focus was not on the positive ideas that one or both of these conferences can advance, but on the supposed ‘competition’ between the two conferences. The Leader of GCC, Susan Aitken was interviewed hostilely, with frequent interruptions, with the interview framed in terms of the Glasgow conference being put on to ‘cock a snoot at Westminster’. In addition, a proposal in the Daily Record was put forward as THE answer. Ms Aitken pointed iut, amidst interruptions that the Council’s conference was dealing with these proposals and some organisations within Scotland have already been using them.
Very little of the interview focussed on what the conferences could actually do positively.
With regard to the statistics in Scotland, while recognising the enormity, Ms Aitken attempted to give a nuanced explanation of why the data for Scotland were as they were. One of the few health workers interviewed pointed out that a large proportion of the deaths were of people who were not known to the various drugs support services or, indeed, the NHS via GPs. The point she was trying to make was that the still-punitive ethos was inhibiting many drug users from entering the system.
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On GMS today (Thursday) the main feature was about the Westminster Government sponsored conference. There was not much on what actually happened at the GCC Conference. There was an interview with a writer on drugs matters, whose name I missed, but he had what seemed to me to be a pretty deep understanding of the issues and of the RANGE of things that need to be done. GMS was trying to portray the GCC as a single idea – places where drug users could inject rather than a range of ways. The interviewer, Gary Robertson appeared to have a ‘crib sheet’ with points to make AGAINST the points that the writer was arguing, e.g. he quoted data that the number of drugs related deaths in Portugal was rising, too, despite its much praised approach.
Eventually, when the UK Minister chairing the conference today was interviewed, he took the same tack – that the Glasgow policy was a ‘single shot’ approach and that the issue was far more complex and so the Glasgow ‘policy’ would not be permitted. He quoted some of the data which Mr Robertson had quoted earlier, which made me wonder if they were using the same briefing sheet. If so, where did it come from?
It has been known for some time that the UK Government has been expanding the Scotland Office staffing in Edinburgh as part of a plan to ‘make it clearer to the Scottish public who is really providing the goods’. Very many of the appointments are press and public relations people. So, I suspect that a fair number of them are engaged in feeding cribs and information to the compliant Scottish media, who will use them.
I have noticed a recent trend in GMS interviews when someone makes a criticism of various UK policies that the interviewer adopts the position of arguing the government line. Indeed, a common approach is to state to the person criticising the UK Government categorically that the UK Government” is right, isn’t it? It’s right, isn’t it?” – note the repitition for emphasis – and, when the critic is responding, to interrupt with – “no, right, isn’t he. He’s right.” It does NOT do this when interviewing someone who is criticising an SG policy.
Another recent feature when an announcement of cash from Westminster is being released is that it is “Boris Johnson has announced spending of ….” Not the Government has announced, nor the Chancellor nor the particular minister, “Boris Johnson” These are at a time when we have not yet had a budget announcement and the previous Chancellor has resigned because he had no autonomy. An announcement that ‘Boris Johnson’ has made available £Xbillion to promote public transport and cycling is headlined as “”BORIS’S” bus and bike bonanza’ in the media. Note the alliterative ‘bung a bob for Big Ben bongs’ to sponsor the bell ringing for Brexit. When he was Mayor of London, the bike hire scheme set up by Mayor Ken Livingstone and sponsored by Barclay’s Bank, became ‘Boris Bikes’ in every news bulletin which referred to it.
This is beginning to resemble the way in which everything in North Korea is dome by Kim Jong-un.
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What a fantastic story about Pharmacist Carron Grogan and her administration of Naloxone to save that young man – A really uplifting story. The availability of Naloxone to NHS and other key personnel likely to have occasion to administer it is rolling out across Scotland and will, hopefully, make an impact in due course. Hopefully the ‘dual’ (!) conferences in Glasgow today and tomorrow will generate some action (if Westminster can be ‘shamed’ into any genuine action? – we live in hope) – If Westminster says ‘nothing doing’ yet again then maybe Scotland’s own ‘independence’ of action might come into play – Who knows – interesting potentialities to consider in due course? (The people of Scotland voted, as recently as December, for this authority to be vested with the Scottish Parlt and Govt – now it’s up to Westminster to deliver on that expressed wish – Get to it, Westminster – and get to it quick-smart – Scotland is waiting and our patience wears thin).
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