'Naloxone Saves Lives’
Today (Thursday, 27th April 2023), Hildegarde Naughton, T.D., Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy welcomed the naloxone street art, which has been created to teach people how to respond to an opioid overdose. The naloxone street art is part of a suite of new naloxone resources developed by the HSE to raise awareness of this life-saving medication.
In Ireland, opioids are the main drug group implicated in drug overdose deaths (HRB, 2019). The HSE is engaging with key stakeholders and partner services to expand the provision of training and the availability of naloxone to people who use drugs, their peers, family members and frontline staff who may witness an opioid overdose.
Deaths from opioid overdoses can be averted by the provision of naloxone. It acts by reversing, within minutes, the effects of opioid overdose, keeping a person alive until emergency services arrive. Its efficacy has been proven internationally. Naloxone is currently available in Ireland by prescription and comes in two types: intra-muscular and intra-nasal.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that people likely to witness an opioid overdose e.g. close friends, a partner or family member, and staff or volunteers working with people who use drugs should have access to naloxone and be trained to administer it.
Created by artist Deniece Quinn, the ‘Naloxone Saves Lives’ street art is situated along Dublin’s Parnell Street and incorporates a QR code which members of the public can scan with their mobile phone camera to bring them to two HSE demonstration videos. These videos show how to recognise and respond to an opioid overdose, including how to administer naloxone.
Minister of State for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Hilegarde Naughton stated: “My focus under the National Drug Strategy is on saving lives, reducing harms from drug use and supporting recovery. Naloxone’s potential as an effective tool in preventing drug overdose deaths is recognised by international experts including the WHO and the EMCDDA. The HSE’S Naloxone Programme is a vitally important tool in the national effort to minimise the harms caused by substance use and will help save lives. Improving public awareness of naloxone benefits us all.
Minister Naughton added: “Presenting this important message in a creative mural will educate the public and encourage engagement on a topic that has such a huge impact on society.
“I welcome the approach being taken by the HSE in partnership with Service Providers, community groups and people with lived experience of drugs in helping to empower families to recognise and respond to a loved one’s drug-related overdose.”
Prof Eamon Keenan, National Clinical Lead, HSE Addiction Services said: “This very impactful naloxone mural is intended to raise awareness amongst the whole population to the benefits of using naloxone, a lifesaving medication, in situations of opioid overdose. We hope that this will reduce stigma around the whole area of drug overdose and direct people towards our online information and resources via the QR code embedded in the image. I would also like to wholeheartedly thank the artist Deniece Quinn for her hard work and enthusiasm for this project.”
The launch of the street art was attended by members of the HSE, Department of Health, An Garda Síochána, National Ambulance Service, National Drug Treatment Centre, and representatives from the National Naloxone Oversight Quality Assurance Group, Irish College of General Practitioners and the UISCE Peer Led Naloxone Advisory Group.
The HSE wish to thank the artist Deniece Quinn of Compact Ivy Mural Design and are grateful to CA-Ventures and Henry Construction for the use of the hoarding during the construction works and their support throughout this project.
Last updated on: 27 / 04 / 2023