New plan to reduce Swindon drug-related deaths shared

Naloxone can be administered by syringe or nasal spray to counter the effects of a drug overdose

A new plan to reduce the number of deaths associated with drug use has been shared by a council.

Swindon Borough Council (SBC) figures show 50% of the 1,153 people in drug or alcohol treatment in the town are using opioids, like heroin, or crack cocaine.

The council plans to make medicine Naxalone - which can prevent death from opioid overdose - more readily available.

It also plans to implement prevention techniques and promote recovery.

"Substance use is a major public health issue which affects individuals, their families and our community," said councillor Jim Grant.

"Swindon's new strategy sets out the council's ambition to reduce overall drug use within the borough to an all-time low," he added.

The council said 63% of those in drug or alcohol treatment in Swindon are aged between 30 and 49, 23% are between 18 and 29, and 13% are over 50.

The main pillars of the Substance Use Disorder Strategy are introducing early intervention, reducing health inequalities, promoting re-integration with society, and reducing substance use related crime and anti-social behaviour.

The council said people leaving prison would be helped to prevent re-offending and the alcohol liaison service at Great Western Hospital could be expanded to include other substances.

SBC also plans to monitor the availability of shops selling alcohol and control the number and density of them, using a new planning system.

Mr Grant continued: "Over the past six months we have seen a reduction in the number of drug-related deaths in the borough, which is incredibly positive.

"We currently have a drug-related death rate of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 people, which is lower than the South West regional average of 5.7.

"Any preventable death is a tragedy, but this strategy is a step in the right direction in supporting our localised approach to reversing the number of drug deaths across our borough."

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