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NFSN & MQI deliver petition to Leinster House - Addressing fatal drug overdose in Ireland

The National Family Support Network and Merchants Quay Ireland today presented a petition to Leo Varadkar, Minster for Health, calling for greater urgency from the Government in addressing the issue of fatal drug overdoses in Ireland.

Ireland records approximately 365 cases of fatal drug overdose per year, almost twice the number of fatalities from road traffic deaths (HRB: 2011). In addition, Ireland currently has the third highest number of recorded drug related deaths in Europe, with only Estonia and Norway recording a greater number of drug related deaths.*

Merchants Quay Ireland and the National Family Support Network are calling for the fast-tracking of the legislation to make Naloxone available and for the development of a comprehensive National Overdose Prevention Strategy for Ireland.

Tony Geoghegan, CEO, Merchants Quay Ireland said:

“The issue of drug related death is of national concern. We welcome the HSE National Naloxone Demonstartion Project which will prescribe and distribute naloxone to 600 opioid users to use in the event of an overdose. But it should be part of a formal National Overdose Strategy, rather than a stand-alone project. If we want to reduce overdose and save lives. It’s important that the actions we implement are evidence based, coherent and consistent around the country”.

Speaking on the issue Director of the NFSN Sadie Grace said:

“Naloxone** is one of a number of practical, evidence based interventions which are commonplace in cities across Europe experiencing similar difficulties to Dublin. The level of fatal drug overdoses in Ireland is totally unacceptable and the NFSN is regularly contacted by service users who have lost family members to opioid overdose. Sadly, in many cases, these fatal drug overdoses may have been preventable if appropriate interventions were available. If this were occurring in any other sector it would cause a huge outcry. I am now calling on the Government to prioritise this issue and put a comprehensive National Overdose Strategy in place.”

**Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which reverses the effects of opiates such as heroin, and is commonly used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

*European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) Report 2014

Post by National Family Support Network.

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