Glasgow Overdose Response Team Test of Change Launched

14 December, 2020


Can a rapid response to near-fatal overdose providing a short, focused period of support to each person and assertively engaging them with mainstream alcohol and other drug services play a significant role in preventing further overdose incidents and save lives?

 A 12-month test of change to be developed by Turning Point Scotland and Simon Community Scotland and funded by the Drug Deaths Taskforce will pioneer an on an assertive outreach approach in Glasgow to find answers – and help save lives in the process.

The new service, operational from December 14th, has been formed in response to the high level of drug related deaths in Glasgow, and follows consultation with frontline workers and people with lived and living experience to identify the most significant actions that could be taken immediately to reduce the high level of drug deaths.

This identified evidence of key gaps and vulnerabilities within current provision including:

  • absence of ‘out of hours’ provision;
  • absence of persistent and assertive ‘wrap around’ care at point of crisis;
  • inconsistency of intervention and follow-up care after near-fatal overdose.
  • Barriers with information sharing and individual privacy and consent amongst statutory partners and with voluntary sector

The key aims and objectives of the new service are:

  • Reduce and prevent drug related deaths.
  • Improve information and understanding of the extent of near-fatal drug overdose, identify barriers to engagement with services, and inform system change that works for people not services.
  • Rapid response to near-fatal overdose providing harm reduction interventions and advice.
  • Short, focused period of support maintaining contact through assertive outreach.
  • Improved access, engagement and assertive linkage to healthcare and support services.
  • Target people in localities and communities as most drug related deaths occur when people are at home, alone.


Patricia Tracey, Glasgow Overdose Response Team Service Manager said:

“We are ready and committed to break down any barriers between the people we will support and the right pathway for them away from the risk of further and fatal overdose. “

Professor Catriona Matheson said:

“The launch of this service is great news for the Taskforce, for Glasgow and the people who need it. Through it, we will find out how best to support those at a time of high risk which will inform our whole strategy, and save lives as we do so. “