Taxi drivers on frontline of Scotland’s war on drugs are carrying overdose reversal kits

Taxi driver Jim Stevenson has signed up as a potential life saver by carrying overdose reversal kits in his cab.

Jim, 57, is among 4,500 people to sign up for carrying the opiate antidote after a public awareness campaign.

His taxi has been emblazoned with the Stop the Deaths livery, which is aimed at reducing prejudice against those most likely to have overdoses, amid Scotland’s national emergency.

More than 20 of Jim’s co-drivers at Glasgow Taxis have also signed up for the initiative, which means they will be armed with the blue kits and trained in the use of them.

Jim said: “I think taxis are present in the heart of communities and you se all life in the back of your cab, good and bad.

“I’d personally like to think I was in a position to help anyone who had an emergency in my taxi, be it a heart attack or a drug overdose.

“I think it should be part of any taxi driver’s attitude to be helpful and you can’t offer more help than to save someone’s life.”

A Naloxone kit

Glasgow Taxis chairman Dougie MacPherson said he was proud to support the initiative.

He said: “On a personal level, during the 1980s – before entering the taxi trade – I worked in the north of Glasgow in some of the city’s worst affected areas like Possilpark.

“Heroin and HIV destroyed a generation back then and it left an indelible impression on those who experienced it, including me.

“The current drug death figures serve as a stark reminder that the problem has not gone away and any way of reducing the number of deaths is worth supporting.”

Dougie said that the livery on Jim’s cab had already resulted in several people coming forward to ask for naloxone kits.

Police Scotland recently announced that all officers would carry the kits.

A nationwide awareness campaign, launched in August last year, encouraged the public to go to the ‘Stop The Deaths’ website to learn how to recognise the signs of a drug overdose, receive training and get a free naloxone kit.

The joint initiative by the Scottish Government and Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) used TV and radio adverts and billboards at transport hubs and shopping centres to promote the message.

Drugs Policy minister Angela Constance in Glasgow to promote new campaign to administer Naloxone by the public.

Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said: “I’m grateful to this company for leading by example and spreading the message.

“The ‘How to Save a Life Campaign’ has had a very positive response and 4,500 people have come forward.

“We want naloxone to get naloxone out in our communities and with a little bit of training and knowledge people can be empowered to save a life.

“These taxi drivers today are proving there is a real appetite among people in Scotland to do what they can.”

Kirsten Horsburgh, Strategy Coordinator for Drug Death Prevention at SDF, added: “Naloxone is an emergency treatment that can help save someone’s life and it is essential that people are equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools they need to provide help to someone experiencing a life-threatening overdose.

“Taxi drivers may also find themselves in this position and we are grateful to Glasgow Taxis for helping to share this important message.”

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