A SUMMIT on the rise in drug related deaths in North Ayrshire heard more lives are being saved thanks to a roll out of overdose reversing kits.

The summit, hosted by the Health and Social Care Partnership and the Alcohol and Drug Partnership at Saltcats Town Hall, was part of North Ayrshire Council’s declaration of a drug death emergency.

Speakers included Paul Main, Chair of North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership Catriona Mathieson, Chair of Scotland’s Drug Death task, Kirsten Horsburgh of the Scottish Drugs Forum and Martha Rae of Scottish Families Affected by Drugs and Alcohol.

Irvine West Cllr Louise McPhater, who has campaigned on the issue after the death of her sister, said: “This summit was an important step in getting public bodies across our area to fully recognise the devastation being felt by the families who are losing loved ones on an all too regular basis to drugs.

“I have spoken about my own personal loss. Losing my baby sister Angela to drugs has been the most devastating experience of my life, harder than everything else I have had to deal with.

“For years, growing up, I would do anything to protect her. But then she got addicted to drugs and I became powerless.

“It breaks my heart to see so many families go through the same thing. And it needs to stop.”

The work of the North Ayrshire Drug Death Prevention Group was also highlighted with the multi-agency group in promoting promotion of the supply of life-saving Naloxone – a short acting medication which temporarily reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

The summit heard that 371 Naloxone kits were handed out in North Ayrshire from January to September 2019, with at least 37 lives reported to have been saved.