Overdose Awareness Day aims to break down some of the stigma associated with substance use and raise awareness of what to do in an overdose situation.
Hillcrest Futures' drug and alcohol service works in the local community to support young people and adults at risk of drug and alcohol related harm and overdose. To mark the day the team raised the profile of their service with a stall in the city’s square.
Dundee has one of the highest drug overdose rates in the UK and services like the outreach support provides wraparound support to not only those individuals who have had a non-fatal overdose, but also to family members and carers to contribute to better community awareness.
Danny Kelly, manager of the service explained that: “To raise awareness of the risks of overdose and to highlight actions that can be taken, Hillcrest Futures launched an overdose awareness campaign ‘ODnotMe’. The campaign is aimed at people who use drugs, their families and the wider community to highlight risk factors and promote the use and distribution of naloxone that can be used in the event of an overdose. In the last six months, Hillcrest Futures harm reduction team has supplied 610 naloxone kits across Tayside.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact and has changed the way in which services are being delivered. During lockdown people were unable to access building-based services and every effort has been made to take the services to those who need them. This has included assertive outreach to those at highest risk of drug and alcohol related harm and overdose.”
Hillcrest Futures’ harm reduction team has delivered an outreach service in partnership with NHS harm reduction nurses. From April to July 2020 the team has engaged with 134 people at high risk due to their drug and alcohol use. Over this time 290 visits were carried out with 113 of those delivered to people who had had a recent non-fatal overdose. Interventions provided were around overdose awareness and Naloxone supply, needle exchange and wound care, dry blood spot testing, treatment referral and welfare support.
As part of Overdose Awareness Day, Hillcrest Futures took part in a vigil with the organisation We are With You to remember those who have lost their lives.
Dave Barrie of We are With You explained that: “The 31st of August is one of the most important dates for us in Dundee. Every year we come together to remember our loved ones lost through overdose. This year is even harder due to the pandemic. This year we are placing our crosses and having a small remembrance. We continue to lose too many people every year from overdose. Services, families and the community are all trying their hardest to stop this devastating loss from happening. We continue to support, educate and provide Naloxone to as many people who are at risk as we can. Today is about reaching out to each other and remembering every single person who has lost their lives from overdose. Every single person was a family member, often young parents themselves none of which set out to become addicted to drugs or die from overdose.”
Pictured below: Scott Menmuir, Police Scotland; James Dale, Hillcrest Futures harm reduction project worker; Christian Sharkey, NHS harm reduction nurse; Claire Johnstone, Hillcrest Futures harm reduction project worker; Kim McIlravey, Police Scotland; Toni-Marie Porter, Hillcrest Futures harm reduction project worker
Hillcrest Housing Association was established in 1967 and is one of Scotland’s largest Housing Associations. They provide housing and support in Dundee, Edinburgh, Angus, Perthshire and Fife, with over 5500 good quality, well maintained homes at affordable rents. In each area of operation there are local offices with housing advice teams who can provide an immediate response to the customers.