Edinburgh SNP councillor calls for Naloxone training to be made licence condition for pubs and clubs

Bar workers and door staff at Capital pubs and clubs should be required to undergo training to administer overdose-antidote Naloxone, an SNP councillor has said.

By Ian Swanson
Tuesday, 28th June 2022, 3:24 pm

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Police Scotland revealed last month its officers had saved the lives of 69 drug-users by giving them the anti-opioid drug, which can temporarily reverse the effects of heroin.

Now Finlay McFarlane, SNP councillor for City Centre ward, has tabled a motion for full council calling on the council to look at making staff training in use of the easy-to-administer treatment a condition of pubs’ and clubs’ licences.

Licensed premises, their personal licence holders and door-staff are already required to be trained in certain aspects of health and safety to get their licences. Cllr McFarlane said Naloxone was a treatment which had been proven to reverse overdoses and save lives and needed only a few minutes of training.

Recently Central Taxis announced they would equip their fleet and drivers to be able to administer Naloxone.

Cllr McFarlane, whose ward includes many premises involved in Edinburgh’s vibrant nightlife, said he had recently visited drug safety charity Crew 2000 to learn about their work and wanted to highlight the life-saving potential of Naloxone if it was made widely available in Edinburgh’s pubs and clubs.

He said: “This is such a simple step that could make a huge life-saving and life-changing difference and, as I’ve been shown by staff at Crew 2000, Naloxone is so easy to administer.

SNP City Centre councillor recently visited drug safety charity Crew 2000.

"Crew 2000 have been doing incredible work around harm reduction and prevention for many years now and they are clear about how big a gamechanger Naloxone is. Having worked as a barman myself, I know that our pubs and clubs can be the frontline when it comes to dealing with people having overdoses.

"There are already licensing conditions requiring bar workers and door staff to have health and safety training to help protect customers. This is just about looking at extending that slightly. Let’s make sure our hospitality workers have the tools and training they need to identify the signs of opioid overdose and are equipped in this event to be able to save lives.

“The Scottish Government is taking bold and decisive action to reduce the number of people dying – tragically and unnecessarily – as a result of drug misuse in Scotland. We need to ensure that our city is doing everything it can to play its part in helping those efforts. I hope that councillors from all parties will support this small but vitally important step.”

Council leader Cammy Day said he was willing to accept the motion, but added the council could not instruct the licensing board.

Naloxone reverses overdoses and saves lives. Cllr McFaralne says it only needs a few minutes of training to be able to administer it.

And he suggested the proposal should be discussed with the licensed trade.

He said: “While we're supportive of it, we're cautious about passing the responsibility for the SNP government's failure onto bar and hospitality staff.

“We will do everything we can to help reduce the number of drug deaths in the city and across Scotland, but we should not allow the SNP's failure as the country with the highest drug deaths in Europe, to continue. That can't be put on bar staff in Edinburgh when the government has let us down continually."

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