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Launch of television campaign on preventing drug-related deaths

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More than 1,300 deaths were linked to drugs last year

A charity has launched a new national campaign which aims to raise awareness of Scotland's drug deaths crisis.

Today (Monday 20 September) sees the launch of a television and online campaign to promote intervention when someone experiences a drug overdose.

The public are being encouraged to learn how to recognise an overdose and intervene to save lives. The campaign also encourages the public to order the freely available medication naloxone which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Opioids, like heroin, were implicated in 90% of Scotland’s 1339 drug related deaths in 2020.

This is the latest phase in a national campaign under the banner We Can Prevent Drug Deaths which also involves a comprehensive national campaign including radio, tv, billboard, bus and train advertising. The campaign will run until November.

The striking television and online adverts come in two versions of 40 and 60 seconds and are voiced by Scottish actor Martin Compston.

The campaign is backed up by a dedicated website where people can learn more about recognising overdose; what to do in the event of an overdose; access further online information on naloxone and order a naloxone kit

David Liddell, chief executive of Scottish Drugs Forum, said: “This is a significant campaign not only in raising the issue of drug related deaths and how they can be prevented, but in terms of the stigma suffered by people who have a drug problem. The public health emergency around drug related deaths in Scotland has continued partly because of that stigma.

“The investment in this high-profile campaign by Government is a clear indicator of a change in public attitudes and the government has shown leadership on this. SDF have been delighted to shape this campaign and to deliver it across Scotland.”

Kirsten Horsburgh, strategic coordinator in drug death prevention at Scottish Drugs Forum, said: “We are delighted to have this national campaign that promotes practical steps anyone can take to reducing drug-related deaths. Time is of the essence when someone becomes unresponsive after an overdose and can be crucial in terms of avoiding death or serious brain injury. We need everyone to be able to recognise an overdose, intervene and call 999.

“Naloxone helps buy the person time while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. If a person is not breathing or there is not enough oxygen supply to the brain then that person is obviously in very real danger. We encourage everyone to visit to learn more and to carry naloxone.”



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