Forward Leeds raising overdose awareness

Forward Leeds, the city’s drug and alcohol service is sharing advice and information on what to do in the event of an overdose for International Overdose Awareness Day this week.

Dr Mark Hallam, Clinical Director of Forward Leeds

Today (31 August 2018) is International Overdose Awareness Day and Forward Leeds are using this to help members of the public to spot an overdose and understand what to do next.

Forward Leeds will have displays and posters in their hubs across the city and they will also be sharing messages on social media. The service is working with local pharmacies and health centres as well, all to raise awareness of what someone should do if they suspect an overdose.

Dr. Mark Hallam, Clinical Director at Forward Leeds said:

“People sometimes worry about if what they are seeing is an overdose or not. My advice is, if you think someone might be overdosing, there is a good chance they are so follow our guidance.

“The first thing to do is always call 999 and ask for an ambulance. Then put them into the recovery position. Always wait with them for the ambulance to arrive.

“Sometimes people worry that they will get into trouble if they call an ambulance but you won’t and you might be saving someone’s life.”

“People usually think of illegal drugs when hearing about overdose but alcohol is a depressant and you can overdose on it. Often we call it acute alcohol poisoning and it can be a result of binge drinking.”

Forward Leeds offers training on overdose awareness to their clients and to its partner organisations across Leeds. They also issue free naloxone kits to their clients and their families and friends that can temporarily reverse the effects of an opiate overdose.

All week for International Overdose Awareness Day Forward Leeds have had memorial books in the reception areas of its hubs in Seacroft, Armley and Kirkgate in the city centre. Local people who have lost friends and family members because of drugs and or alcohol have been invited to enter names and tributes in the books.

International Overdose Awareness Day aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. There were 3,756 deaths relating to drug poisoning in England and Wales in 2017.