Naloxone – saving lives through community pharmacies
Carron Grogan deals with Naloxone, a medication used to reverse the effects of opiod overdose.
By Democrat reporter
As a pharmacist, Carron Grogan knew the science behind the life-saving drug Naloxone, but little did she know that soon after its introduction she would put this knowledge into action.
And she’s not alone. Within the last 2 years, at least 18 people have been revived by community pharmacists in or near their pharmacies within the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.
Naloxone is a medication used to reverse the effects of opiod overdose.
Carron, who is now a pharmacist within NHSGGC, was working in a community pharmacy in Renfrew when her skills were required in an emergency.
Carron said: “Training for an emergency is one thing but putting this training into action is another matter. It started as a normal day but some of my clients came into the shop, saying their friend had collapsed nearby.
“When I got to the young man, his lips were already blue so I began administering the Naloxone, while his friends called an ambulance. Sometimes it takes more than one dose to be successful and in the end I administered four doses while we waited for the ambulance. Thankfully it worked and the young man was revived and was taken off to the Royal Alexandra Hospital. He survived.
“I had training in Naloxone, but the idea was for us to supply this to drug users, their friends and family to have at home for this kind of eventuality. Little did I know I would use it myself.
“While I worked in the pharmacy the client came back in regularly to talk to me and thank me for that day. It had a big impact on both of us.”
Carron is just one of the pharmacists working in the health board’s alcohol and drug services.
Dr Carole Hunter is lead pharmacist within NHSGGC’s Alcohol and Drug Services. Carole oversaw the introduction of the take home Naloxone programme within community pharmacists in the area.
She said: “When we initially introduced the supply of naloxone from community pharmacies we didn’t anticipate that pharmacists and their staff would be involved in actually administering the drug.
“There are now 18 confirmed reports of pharmacy staff administering naloxone. This is a testament to the professionalism of the staff involved and the effectiveness of the training they received.
“The number of drug related deaths in Glasgow and Scotland has reached unprecedented levels. This is a public health emergency that requires a response from all sections of the community and it is clear that community pharmacies are playing their part in helping to address this emergency situation.
”Based on the experiences of pharmacists like Carron we have been working with partners in the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership and health board to develop a scheme where all community pharmacies in GGC will be offered the opportunity to access training and be supplied with a naloxone kit to hold for use in an emergency.”