Emmaus Glasgow has joined Scotland’s #stopthedeaths campaign, calling for change to prevent people dying unnecessarily from drugs overdoses.

The figure published by the National Records of Scotland on July 28th show 1,330 people lost their lives in Scotland to drugs misuse in 2021, which is nine fewer people than the previous year. However, statistics continue to show the country as having the highest drugs death rate than any other recorded in Europe.

As part of the homelessness charity’s safeguarding of vulnerable people, formerly homeless people supported at Emmaus Glasgow, volunteers and staff are all trained in what to do in the event of a drugs overdose.

The charity carries opiod-reversal drug Naloxone within the community buildings as well as during outreach soup kitchen nights run every Wednesday night and every other Sunday on the corner of Cadogan Street and Blythswood Street in the city.

Emmaus Glasgow supports up to 27 people with experience of homelessness with a home, support and the focus of work at the community and charity shops in Hamiltonhill and a charity shop in Partick. Both areas rank among the 20% most deprived areas of Glasgow, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2020.

Director of Emmaus Glasgow, Richard Allwood, said: “This figure is tragic. One death from a drug overdose is one too many. We have not had to use Naloxone to date, but with factors that contribute to drugs misuse rising in Glasgow, such as the cost of living and mental health issues post-Covid, it is only a matter of time we encounter this while providing outreach services.

“Drugs training is a vital part of the way in which we safeguard the vulnerable people we come into contact with as a charity, so as part of our call to stop the deaths, we want to share the link we have with the Scottish Drugs Forum as a way of encouraging more people to get drugs wise and access this free training.”

The Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) works with people who use or have used services, service staff, managers, planners, commissioners and people developing policy, including elected members of local and national government. It delivers general and specialist training on drug-related issues through a number of approaches.

Naloxone is available at drug treatment services and pharmacies. Homelessness charities, such as Emmaus Glasgow, received access the medication, which is the same used by the Scottish Ambulance Service, due to a change in an amendment in Scotland.

Naloxone kits can be ordered in Scotland through the Click and Deliver service established through Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs.

To find out more about the #StopTheDeaths campaign, visit: www.stopthedeaths.com/.

Emmaus Glasgow is accepting applications from people with experience of homelessness who would like to join our community. Click here for more information about the referrals process.