London’s mayor should work with the Metropolitan Police to ensure that its officers routinely carry naloxone spray, according to a new harm reduction report from the London Assembly Health Committee.
Police Scotland recently announced that it was rolling out its pilot naloxone programme across the whole of the country (DDN, March, page 4), following successful pilot schemes.
Naloxone is ‘not as readily available as it should be’ in the capital, says Reducing drug deaths in London, which also calls on the government to introduce a nationwide naloxone programme in England to end the ‘postcode lottery of provision’. The committee also want to see consumption rooms piloted in London, and for drug-checking services to be provided at clubs, music events and other venues.
Just under 10 per cent of Londoners report previous-year drug use, the document states. ‘As a diverse city, with pockets of both extreme wealth and extreme poverty, London has highly contrasting drug use scenes, which differ by local area and by socioeconomic, cultural and ethnic groupings,’ it says. Earlier this year, the mayor’s office was forced to defend its as-yet unapproved diversion scheme in three boroughs for young people caught with cannabis, after media reports that it was planning to ‘decriminalise drugs in London’.
‘Too many people are still dying from drug-related causes in London,’ said chair of the committee, Caroline Russell. ‘We investigated how to address this tragedy and find out what practical, life-saving interventions could be used to reduce drug harm in our city.
Our investigation found that naloxone could save someone’s life if it’s used quickly after an opioid overdose. That is why we are urging the mayor to ensure the Met routinely carry naloxone, a simple and proven way to reduce opioid deaths. Additional measures recommended in our report, such as a pilot for safe drug consumption rooms and the introduction of drug checking services, can start to bring down the growing numbers of people sadly losing their lives due to problematic drug use.’
Document at www.london.gov.uk