Naloxone, an injectable medicine, can help save the lives of those who overdose on opioid drugs such as heroin by reversing the effects.
The medicine is to be used as a quick response after an ambulance is called; the time that it takes for an ambulance to come to help may be the difference between the user surviving or dying.
Laura Everett-Coles, a health programme advisor at Public Health Dorset, explained why naloxone is such an essential drug to have access to:
Imagine if someone you loved or cared for had taken a drug overdose and you found them unconscious and stopping breathing.
“How would you feel watching them lose their fight for life right before your eyes? Not be able to do anything about it apart from call for an ambulance and then have to wait for it to arrive.
“Now imagine the same situation but that you had a way to help revive them right there and then.”
In 2012, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs called for naloxone to be made widely available, as at it was only a prescription-only medicine.
In October 2015, changes in national legislation allowed the medicine to become more readily accessible to those who need it.
It can now be given without prescription to any individual needing access to the drug to save a life in an emergency.
This includes family and carers of opiate users and facilities in which drug users are at risk of overdose as well as drug services.
Public Health Dorset have funded the programme to make the drug available in the area, also offering training in life support and how to inject naloxone.
To see the effects of what such a medicine can do to save a life, the Daily Mail released a video in 2013 showing the drug take effect on a 29-year-old woman who had overdosed on heroine.
Its release led many to call for widespread use of the medicine.
If you suspect anybody has overdosed, first dial 999. For more information, see the NHS website.