Up to five lives have been saved in Ireland in a trial of a medicine that reverses potentially deadly drug overdoses, the Health Service Executive (HSE) have revealed.
A single injection of naloxone can bring heroin addicts and other drug users who have gone into a coma back within minutes.
Medics and the families of drug addicts in Dublin, Waterford, Limerick and Cork were given the antidote and training in how to use it last year as part of the trial.
The HSE has confirmed as many as five men who had overdosed were rescued from near death after being given naloxone as part of the scheme.
The Minister of State for the National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, said the findings were important.
"The number of drug-related deaths in Ireland is a matter of serious concern to me, and this project is an important element in the government's efforts to tackle the issue," she said.
Ireland has the third highest rate of drug overdoses in Europe after Estonia and Sweden.
Two years ago, the World Health Organisation urged countries with drug overdose problems to make more use of naloxone.
The medicine is widely used internationally.
Denis O'Driscoll, chief pharmacist for the HSE's addiction services, says more people will be trained in its use next year.
"To date we have trained over 600 people in the use of naloxone and we look forward to rolling out more training in 2107 as we work to expand the service," he added.