Leaders: Positive voice is the right antidote

Heart Defibrillator machines are now a common place in many public places. Picture: TSPL
Heart Defibrillator machines are now a common place in many public places. Picture: TSPL
Share this article
Have your say

IN RECENT years it has become increasingly common to find defibrillator machines in public places – in sports venues, shopping centres and large office blocks, for example. Everyone agrees this is a good thing. The same goes for training programmes that teach people to use this equipment properly. If the effect is to allow prompt action that could save the life of someone with a heart condition, then what could possibly be wrong with that?

Nothing, of course. But the same logic, it seems, does not always apply to the use of antidote kits that could save the life of a heroin addict experiencing a potentially fatal overdose.

Today we report on a pioneering scheme to provide training in how to use Nalaxone antidote kits to a range of people in public life – taxi drivers, club doormen and music festival stewards, to name but a few – so that they could, if necessary, be able to administer it effectively. A recent pilot study is thought to have saved up to 360 lives – an extraordinary number that shows what positive impact this scheme could have.

Antidote kits are given to addicts and their families to be used in emergencies. But there are obviously occasions when family members are not present, and it is left to a member of the public to administer the necessary injection.

Quite simply, this scheme could save many lives. And yet some politicians are making very negative noises about it.

Tory MSP John Lamont is quoted in our report as saying: “The fact the Scottish Government is considering extending Naloxone to almost every corner of society suggests a large white flag is being waved in the war on drugs. It appears the SNP would rather prepare Scotland for an onslaught of heroin addiction than actually tackle the scourge head on.”

This is political posturing of the most irresponsible kind. Lamont’s negativity makes it less likely that this scheme will get enthusiastic and widespread support – who, after all, would want to be seen to be waving a white flag in tackling drugs?

Is a drug addict’s life worth less than the life of someone with a heart condition? This newspaper says no, plain and simple. The Nalaxone scheme, and the training of the public that goes along with it, is a life-saver and it deserves support, not cynical disparagement.