Police Scotland announces national roll-out of life-saving nasal spray which helps those who have suffered a drug overdose

Police Scotland’s Chief Constable has announced that all operational officers in the force will be trained and equipped with a life-saving nasal spray.

The national roll-out of Naloxone follows successful tests in Dundee, Falkirk, Glasgow, Stirling and Caithness, where the officers used the spray to counter the effects of overdose from opioids, such as heroin.

During these tests, officers used the spray to provide essential first aid 62 times. It will now be rolled out to all 17,240 operational officers.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone explained: “I know the terrible toll of drugs deaths in Scotland and policing is committed to playing our part in reducing the harm caused to individuals, families and communities.

Picture credit: Jane Barlow

“We have a vital role in preventing drugs from reaching our streets and bringing those engaged in serious and organised crime to justice and that will always be a key duty and priority for Police Scotland.

“Preservation of life, keeping people safe, lies right at the heart of policing. We have a purpose and remit which goes beyond law enforcement. We have a positive legal duty to improve the lives of our communities. Equipping and training officers with Naloxone will contribute to that mission.

“Policing is so often the service of first and last resort; the service first on the scene; the service which responds to crisis and criticality. Where a person is suffering an overdose, Naloxone nasal-spray can be given safely by officers with no adverse effects.

“It is absolutely essential that where Naloxone is used by an officer to help people in crisis, professional medical attention continues to be provided from ambulance service colleagues and others.

"In addition, it is crucial that timely and sustainable support is available to provide treatment for those suffering addiction."

During the test, 808 officers in the force were trained to use the nasal spray, with 656 officers (81%) volunteering to carry the Naloxone kits.

A review by the Scottish Institute for Police Research (SIPR) was conducted between March and October 2021 and concluded that a national roll-out would be recommended.

Work is under way to secure stock of Naloxone and a national programme of training and equipping over 12,000 officers, will be undertaken in the coming months.

The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has risen constantly in recent years, to a total of 1,339 in 2020.

Earlier this month, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service(SFRS) and the Scottish Ambulance Service offered emergency crews training the use the spray.

Firefighters who volunteer to undergo training to carry and deploy naloxone will be given guidance on how to identify the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.

SFRS Group Commander Paul Blackwood decided to carry naloxone after a personal tragedy: "I grew up in Glasgow and I lost my best friend at the age of 19 from a drugs overdose.

"This traumatic experience has stayed with me and so it was important for me to volunteer to carry naloxone.

"I have the kit because I want to be in a position to save someone's life."

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