Words: Mark Hindwell
To mark International Overdose Awareness Day, Armley-based Forward Leeds will be giving out advice in Leeds city centre about what to do if you suspect someone is overdosing.
As part of their response to the increasing number of people dying as a result of drugs each year, the city’s alcohol and drug service will have a stall in Dortmund Square, on The Headrow, on Tuesday 31 August.
It will offer advice on recognising an overdose and how to respond to drug-related emergencies.
A report published by the Office of National Statistics earlier this month identified that there were 78 drug-related deaths registered in Leeds last year. Deaths by drug poisoning were the highest since records began with 4,561 deaths across England and Wales according to the report.
Harm Reduction Lead Practitioner at Forward Leeds, Jackie Blackburn said:
“It’s all about encouraging people to look out for others. If you are overdosing, there’s not a lot you can do about it, so it’s up to your friends, family or just members of the public to react and take action fast. A passer-by can become a hero and save someone’s life.”
As well as providing information, Forward Leeds will have activities for the public to try around overdose awareness so they can understand just how easy it is for them to be life-savers.Jackie continued:
“We’ll also be talking a lot about naloxone and demonstrating how it’s used. Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids. It temporarily reverses the effects of the overdose, helping someone come round until the ambulance arrives.”
Forward Leeds distributes free naloxone kits across Leeds to help save lives. In the last twelve months the service has given out 884 of the kits and trained people how to use them so they can save lives in Leeds.