Dubai: Fourteen people have been saved from drugs overdoses in Dubai this year alone since local ambulance services started carrying a spray that blocks the effects of opioids called naloxone.
One hundred cans of the spray, also known as narcan, were distributed among ambulance staff who were also trained how to use it, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Erada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation and Dubai Ambulance Service.
Dr Abdul Qadir Khayat, Chairman of Erada, said the centre was committed to save lives from addiction and that this MoU to train and equip ambulance staff would ensure more lives were saved.
Khayat praised the cooperation of Dubai Ambulance Service to help support people recovering from addiction to create a tolerant and sustainable society in keeping with the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Khalifa Al Darrai, executive director of Dubai Ambulance Service, said the initial success of the initiative would allow for closer coordination and cooperation between the two parties in the field of rehabilitation of addicts and the promotion of anti-addiction programmes.
Despite stiff drugs laws in the UAE, cases of drugs misuse and overdoses have been reported.
Two Emirati brothers went on trial in Dubai in March after an Emirati woman they allegedly supplied drugs to was found dead in a hotel room in November surrounding by tablets. The brothers were later cleared of supplying the drugs but faced a lesser charge of consumption and possession of drugs.
Similar incidents were reported in Abu Dhabi involving an Emirati teen in November and a young Arab woman in Ras Al Khaimah in March. In both cases friends were arrested and jailed in connection with the case, either on grounds of supplying drugs or consuming and possessing them.
The Erada Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation is located in Al Khawaneej and supports addicts and their families through a range of programmes. For more information visit www.erada.ae call 04-239-9992 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is naxolone or narcan?
A medication that blocks the effects of opioids within 2-5 minutes when sprayed into the nose or injected into the vein of a patient. The effects last up to half an hour and multiple doses may be necessary. It works by reversing the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system caused by opioids. Patented in 1961 and first approved for use in the US ten years later, it is now on the World Health Organisation’s list of most essential medicines. For comparison, each dose costs the UK’s National Health Service £5.00 (Dh22.3).