A new campaign has launched in Somerset to end opioid overdoses by equipping communities with access to lifesaving information and medicine. The Carry Naloxone campaign promotes a new app which helps people find locations that supply free naloxone – a drug used to reverse opioid overdose.  The campaign is aimed at drug users, their friends and family and the wider community.

Opioids are pain-relieving medicines which should only be used under medical supervision, as they carry high risks of dependence and addiction. There are an estimated 1980 people who use opioids in Somerset and are at risk of over-doses. The Carry Naloxone campaign began as a research project funded by Somerset Council, to encourage people who may experience or witness an opioid overdose to carry naloxone with them.

Somerset Council’s Public Health team joined forces with Somerset Drug & Alcohol Service (SDAS) and the University of Bristol to develop the campaign, which emphasises the importance of always carrying a naloxone kit, what steps to take to reduce the risk of overdose and how to respond to an opioid overdose, including video demonstrations.

The campaign features posters strategically placed in key locations across Somerset such as railway stations and supermarkets, ensuring widespread visibility and access to essential information.

The campaign was developed with people from Somerset Drug & Alcohol Service (SDAS) who have lived experience of addiction and dependency and was led by Dr Jennifer Scott (Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol), Dr Jo Kesten (Research Fellow at the University of Bristol), and Deb Hussey (Safer Lives Lead at Turning Point).

Cllr Adam Dance, lead member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset Council said:

We want to end overdoses in Somerset and Naloxone can help us do this.  This life-saving medicine, when administered quickly, can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The Carry Naloxone app helps people find locations to quickly access free naloxone, including local pharmacies and Needle Exchanges. It also includes information on how to recognise the signs of an overdose and how to administer naloxone.

Naloxone should be seen as an essential medication and thought of in the same way as a defibrillator, or an epi pen for anaphylactic shock.  I have done the training myself, it’s easy to administer, easy to carry and can ultimately save someone’s life.”

Dr Jennifer Scott, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol said:

By working in partnership with people who use opioids, drugs service staff and peer mentors, we have co-designed information materials that we hope are engaging, help raise awareness of naloxone and where to get it and encourage people in Somerset to carry naloxone.

Carrying, as opposed to keeping it in a cupboard, is important, as you cannot predict when it will be needed and the quicker it is given, the more likely it is to save someone’s life. It is a safe medicine to use.

The training is simple, and once trained, anyone can confidently administer it. The ambition of this local campaign is to end overdose. We are grateful to our co-designers, to Somerset Council and Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service (SDAS) for their support with this work.”

Deb Hussey Safer Lives lead at Turning Point said:

The risk of opioid overdoses is rising. We are seeing an increase in contaminants in the drug supply, including the emergence of a group of synthetic opioids known as ‘nitazenes’. Nitazenes are many times more potent than heroin and have been linked to over 100 deaths since last summer.

Naloxone is a first aid medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, including nitazenes.  I encourage anyone who may encounter an opioid overdose to get a naloxone kit, get trained and always carry the kit with you, as you never know when it might be needed to save a life.”


The app, developed by Tom Heaton, marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to prevent drug-related deaths and promote a safer, more informed community.

For more information on Carry Naloxone  and how you can make a difference in saving lives, download the app today and help save lives in Somerset.



Turning Point’s, Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service (SDAS) is commissioned by Somerset Council and provides free and confidential support in Somerset for adults, children and families affected by alcohol and other drugs.

For more information or to access support for yourself or someone you care about, call 0300 303 8788 or visit www.turning-point.co.uk/sdas

About this article

May 10, 2024

Rosie Bennetts

Press Release

Public Health