Funding announced for projects to reduce drug deaths

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that 12 projects have been awarded a share of £5 million to reduce the rates of fatal drug overdoses.

The funding is part of the Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Challenge which aims to reduce drug related deaths across the UK.

It is hoped the funding will improve urgent and emergency care and increase the resources available to healthcare professionals to treat drug overdoses.

Winning projects include AI technologies to detect overdoses, emergency systems using drone technology to deliver antidotes, and wearable technologies such as smart watches or breathing monitors to detect overdoses and alert healthcare professionals, family, or members of the community to the need to intervene.

Minister of state for health Will Quince said: "Drug use has a devastating impact on people’s health, their families and their livelihoods and every year over 4000 people in the UK die from an avoidable drug overdose.

"We want to stop people taking these substances and support them to recover from their addictions, while preventing those most at risk from dying from overdoses.

"This fund forms part of our healthcare mission programme as we take a Vaccine Taskforce style approach to some of the biggest challenges facing our society today, backed by over £200 million."

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak, chief scientific advisor for health, Scottish Government said: "It is truly inspiring to see some of the innovative solutions that are being supported through the Reducing Drug Deaths Innovation Competition and the partnership between the Chief Scientist’s Office in Scottish Government and the UK Government’s Office for Life Sciences.

"Tackling drug related deaths is a huge priority for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland, and our commitment to tackling these issues through targeted research, innovation and support can be seen in recent figures, showing a reduction in drug-related deaths in Scotland, the lowest annual total since 2017.

"Utilising the expertise in Scotland and across the rest of the UK, we can continue to deliver results in harm reduction, developing truly impactful innovations and driving prevention initiatives, having a hugely positive impact both across the UK and globally."

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

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