Depaul have created this video with the support of Drugreporter to share in their organisation how to use Naloxone and save a life. Watch the video and read more about Depaul!
Depaul is a cross-border charity supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We provide over 25 services across 4 main areas of work; our work with addiction, our work with families, our work preventing homelessness and our work in the criminal justice system.
Depaul believes in the potential of those accessing our services as leaders in promoting harm reduction interventions. We are working towards a peer programme that will develop the skills and abilities of our service users to deliver these important messages. We have have created this video with the help of our EVS volunteers, staff and service users and the support of Drugreporter to share with those in our organisation demonstrate how to use Naloxone and save a life.
Naloxone use at Depaul
Naloxone has been available for use by medical professionals for the purpose of reversing opiate overdose for decades. It has become more widely available in Ireland for use by people who use drugs, their families and the workers that support them since 2014. The Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) launched a demonstration project to train support workers to promote naloxone availability and train people how to use it in the event of an opiate overdose.
The pilot project saw more than 600 people trained, a number which has grown significantly since it was made more widely available and a bigger part of the conversation. The training currently includes the administration of naloxone as well as identifying the signs and symptoms of overdose.
In 2016 Depaul rolled out naloxone for use by frontline workers, homeless hostel staff, as well as people who use drugs and their peers. This year  our staff have managed 65 incidents of overdose, administering naloxone on 34 separate occasions. In some situations, up to 4 doses of Naloxone were required to bring someone around from an opiate overdose. CPR was administered in 5 instances. Our training focuses on identifying the signs and symptoms of overdose, calling an ambulance, CPR and the recovery position with the administration of naloxone as an extra tool to save a life. We also have seen the importance of stressing the risk of polysubstance use for people that may not be injecting, how to identify when people may be at risk of overdose and how to support them.
Since 2016 we have trained over 200 full-time staff but we didn’t feel we were really getting the word out and or uptake from people that needed it most. We ran a number of overdose workshops at residents meetings and for international Overdose awareness day, but still we were only providing 5-10 personal packs a year. We now have personal Naloxone champions in each of our sites that can train service users in overdose prevention and Naloxone administration. Personal prescribing of Naloxone is available from our Nurse Prescriber and GP services.
It was really important to our lead trainer and Clinical Nurse Manager, Jess Sears, that the people that we work with were seen as the experts by experience and were involved in the training of our staff. While this wasn’t possible from the beginning, it is the end goal of the programme. Ideally current and past residents will provide the training directly to our staff and service users, along with other important information about safe injection and needle exchange.
The video was filmed with the help of our EVS programme, residents and staff that have gone through the training. The video is to be to incorporated into our current training programme to demonstrate the application of the training in an emergency situation. Our staff are then required to demonstrated these skills and as they would be used in a real life scenario. On top of directly saving lives, the programme also helps people to talk openly about drug use and its effects, can reduce stigma associated with substance use as well as creating further opportunities for more meaningful intervention around safer use and around their general health conditions.
We truly believe in the potential of people and in providing opportunities to shape the culture of our services and those that work in them.
To find out more about the work of Depaul, visit ie.depaulcharity.org