Foreign drug workers have praised Scotland’s roll-out of an anti-overdose jab that was only made possible by a writ issued by the country’s top legal officer.
Portuguese workers say the availability of naloxone is “much better” in Scotland than at home.
The injectable drug can briefly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and is freely dispensed by charities.
Hundreds of take-home kits have been given out in Dundee by charities such as Addaction and Gowrie Care.
But Andreia Alves, a social worker at Portuguese charity Crescer, says lives are being lost in Lisbon despite decriminalisation because naloxone is only carried by paramedics.
She said: “Scotland is better with naloxone. If someone has overdosed here we have to wait for the emergency services.
“I have seen three people having serious overdoses and one of them died waiting for naloxone. It was really bad.”
Pressure is mounting on UK ministers to consider decriminalisation and safe consumption rooms (SCRs) – where users consume drugs in a sterile, supervised environment – to cut Scotland’s death rate.
Supporters of SCRs, such as Scottish Drugs Forum CEO David Liddell, say they could be permitted in the same way as naloxone.
Take-home kits were made possible in 2011 when then-Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini issued a “letter of comfort” protecting those who supplied it from prosecution.
However current Lord Advocate James Wolffe says Scotland needs “frameworks” to address all the legal ramifications of such facilities.
Read more on Dundee’s drugs death crisis here
He told the Commons Scottish Affairs Committee: “I simply cannot create that kind of regime through a letter of comfort.”
Chris Law, MP for Dundee West, said: “If the UK Government is not willing to enact the proper radical changes needed then it must devolve the full powers to do so to the Scottish Parliament.”
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