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Turning Point Scotland officially releases evaluation report on overdose response teams

The independent evaluation of Turning Point Scotland’s Overdose Response Teams was released today, evidencing the successes of the new service model in preventing drug deaths.

Powerful evidence from individuals who used the service, their families and partner agencies, alongside recommendations to take forward, was shared with key partners at an event held at Turning Point Scotland’s Lanarkshire Overdose Response Team office.

Turning Point Scotland and Simon Community Scotland Overdose Response Teams Evaluation provides evidence that overdose awareness, Naloxone training and provision together with other harm reduction measures, directly and indirectly, prevents drug deaths.

Other key findings highlight the importance of reaching people in crisis without delay and the current system lacking the out of hours, assertive outreach that Overdose Response Team services provide to protect people from drug related harm.

The recommendations within the evaluation highlight the need for every local authority across Scotland to have an Overdose Response Team service that provides: out of hours support when other services are unavailable, a rapid response within 12 hours, key assertive outreach, a focused and limited role connecting individuals to mainstream support and a person centred holistic approach.

The evaluation also highlighted while the current system hinders collaboration the joint approach between Overdose Response Team services and key partners works.

Turning Point Scotland, Chief Executive, Neil Richardson said: ‘‘While we acknowledge the success of the Overdose Response Team service model, we also know that there is much more work to be done.’’

‘‘Turning Point Scotland is making the commitment to continue to build this evidence base and fund further independent evaluations, sharing learnings with our key partners. We hope by continuing this work Turning Point Scotland will further contribute to improving services provided by the system.’’

Turning Point Scotland, Head of Alcohol and Other Drugs, Patricia Tracey said: ‘‘This evidence highlights this new service model, which crucially includes out of hours and weekend support, has successfully filled gaps in the current system identified by front line workers. I want to acknowledge our key partners that have worked in collaboration with our Overdose Response Team services. Many lives have been saved by our Overdose Response Team services that will continue to reduce drug harm and prevent drug deaths.’’

Turning Point Scotland currently has funding to operate Lanarkshire Overdose Response Team across North Lanarkshire, and the Greater Glasgow and Clyde West of Scotland Overdose Response Team, which covers East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire.

The latest evaluation follows a positive independent interim report, also conducted by Indigo House, released in May 2022, also funded by the now disbanded Drug Death Task Force.

The current Overdose Response Team services were rolled out after the successful 12-month Test of Change pilot of Glasgow Overdose Response Team, which began in November 2020. The service was developed and funded through the Drug Death Task Force in consultation with front line workers.

Please read the report here.

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