In May our Edinburgh Drug and Alcohol Partnership colleagues joined forces with The Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) to launch an initiative with Edinburgh’s Central Taxis to equip its taxi drivers with the life-saving drug naloxone, which temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of overdoses and the administration of naloxone can mean the difference between life and death. Naloxone is vital in reversing the life threatening effects of opioid overdose and can buy precious time while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

Central Taxis is the largest taxi operator in Edinburgh, and their drivers have all been approached to carry out the necessary training and to carry naloxone in their cabs. Already, 36 drivers have signed up to complete the training.

David Williams, Joint Commissioning Officer from the Edinburgh Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, said:

“The Edinburgh Alcohol and Drugs Partnership is delighted to be supporting this initiative with Edinburgh Central Taxis. The more people who carry Naloxone kits in Scotland – and have the right training and awareness to administer it – the more drug related deaths can be prevented. We’re grateful to all those in Edinburgh’s taxi community who go on to sign up to this initiative and carry these life-saving kits.

“We would encourage anyone who might be in a position to use a kit and save a life to go to or drop in to one of the local services who provide them.”

Taxi drivers cover large areas in the region, and serve different communities on a daily basis, and so they are often likely to encounter an overdose before an ambulance is called.

This initiative is part of a wider campaign, Stop the Deaths, launched by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Drugs Forum, which seeks to reduce stigma and raise public awareness of how to recognise and intervene when someone has a drug overdose.