New role prevents two drug-related deaths

Cllr Matthew Winnington
Cllr Matthew Winnington
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CONCERNS about Spice have come after news a council-funded drug prevention role saved the lives of two homeless people in the city.

A harm reduction worker was established in January in conjunciton with the Society of St James to engage with drug users in the city.

The charity’s operations director, Mike Taylor, said: ‘The role has definitely made a difference in the city. Not least in the two lives that were saved when he found them in an unconscious state of overdose and administered life saving medicine naloxone and called the emergency services.

‘The worker is out on the streets daily engaging with people who are in very desperate need.

‘This has included working at night during the snow storms helping street homeless people to find overnight accommodation.

‘He is currently working intensively with 13 individuals and has supported five people to access treatment services for help with their addiction.’

The council’s boss for health, Cllr Matthew Winnington, was positive about the role.

He said: ‘As the harm reduction worker is trying to work with disengaged, hard to reach drug users it’s still very early days to be talking about results. They are managing to build relationships, though, so the signs look positive.

‘We also hope that our work in this area will reduce hospital admissions, anti-social behaviour and crime.’